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Ken Uston

Ken Uston, who passed away in 1987, was a professional blackjack player as well as a strategist and author who has been credited with popularizing the “team play” blackjack concept.  Uston perfected this concept after he became part of Al Francesco’s “Big Player” team, an experience which subsequently lead to him co-writing his popular The Big Player book with Roger Rapoport.

During the mid 1970s, Uston is reported to have made millions of dollars utilizing his card counting technique throughout a variety of casinos.  During this time period, Uston reports betting as much as $12,000 on just one hand.  Due to his great success at the blackjack table with Francesco’s team as well as with the teams he formed following his time with Francesco, Uston was subsequently banned from numerous casinos throughout the world.  As a result, he routinely disguised himself in order to continue playing.  He also took several casinos to court and won his case within the New Jersey court system, which ruled that casinos could not ban someone from their facilities based solely on card counting.  In order to combat this ruling, several casinos chose to increase the number of cards used in their blackjack decks.

In addition to co-authoring The Big Player, Uston has also authored numerous other game strategy books, video game books and computer books.  These include:

  • Ken Unston on Blackjack
  • Ken Uston’s Guide to Buying and Beating Home Video Games
  • Ken Uston’s Guide to Home Computers
  • Ken Uston’s Home Video ’83
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the Adam
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the Apple Ile
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the Commodore 64
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the Compaq
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the IBM PC
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the IBM PCjr
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the Kaypro
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to the Macintosh
  • Ken Uston’s Illustrated Guide to Today’s Most Popular Computers
  • Mastering PAC-MAN
  • Million Dollar Blackjack
  • One Third of a Shoe
  • Score!  Beating the Top 16 Video Games

Unston was also the subject of a 60 Minutes segment in 1981 as well as the documentary The Black Jack Man on the History Channel.

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