Blackjack is unique in gambling games to have a hall of fame. In 2002, the Barona Casino in San Diego decided to set up a hall of fame to recognise and reward blackjack players who have made a significant contribution to the game.
As well as having their photos up in the casino’s hallowed hall of fame area, this honour also gives initiates a lifetime entitlement to free accommodation, food and drink at the Barona Hotel. The only condition is that members are not allowed to play at any of their blackjack tables!
Who are the members of the blackjack hall of fame?
There are currently 20 blackjack legends in the hall of fame. They include:
- Edward O. Thorpe – the mathematics professor who’s book ‘Beat the Dealer’ describing card counting techniques had people from all backgrounds rushing to the casino floor. The book is still the most requested in the Las Vegas library.
- Stanford Wong (the pseudonym of John Ferguson) – the man who developed a lifelong love of blackjack, wrote several books on the subject and invented the practice of ‘Wonging’ waiting until the card count is looking favourable before joining a game.
- Keith Taft – the gadget king of blackjack. Inspired by the card counting techniques in ‘Beat the Dealer’ but finding them too complex to carry out in real life he invented a wearable machine ‘George’ to do the counting for him. ‘George’ leaked battery acid, was bulky and failed to win each game. Further machines followed though, including refined versions of George, tiny cameras and communication devices. He inspired a movement of casino gadget inventors until casinos cracked down on gambling aiding machines with improved security.
- John Chang – leader of the infamous MIT card counting club, immortalised as the character ‘Mickey Rosa’ played by Kevin Spacey in the great blackjack film ’21’.
How do I get my name up there with the greats?
Although in the first few years of the hall of fame there were a flurry of new members, since 2006 only one new member is added each year (although in 2007, 4 new members were added as a ‘group’ – given they “invented” basic strategy we think that’s fair enoughg!) Nominations for membership are put forward by the existing members of the hall of fame and then voted on by attendees of the exclusive ‘Blackjack Ball’.
As you can see from the names above, the main qualification for consideration is that you must have made a major contribution to the game of blackjack. So have you been inspired by these greats of the blackjack game? Do you want to see your picture up there in the Barona next to them? If so it’s time to start honing your skills, check out the best offers on online blackjack today!