Famous California No-Bust Blackjack Players

Blackjack is a fantastic game that has endured in our casinos for centuries. Hardcore gamblers love the game because it has excellent player odds, amateur players enjoy it because it requires a balance of strategy and chance, and casual players enjoy it because of how much fun it is. In other words, blackjack has something for everyone.

With its popularity, it is no surprise that blackjack has spawned numerous variants. From 21 to No Bust, these different game versions have become just as popular as the original. This article will primarily focus on California Blackjack as we go over some of the most popular California Blackjack players.

California Blackjack

Usually played in Los Angeles county casinos, the California No Bust Blackjack variant is similar to the conventional game. However, there are some differences. For example, the Joker are wild cards. Once you get them, they count as 21, no matter what other cards you have. If you do so, standing is mandatory. There are additional rules which make California Blackjack unique; however, for the most part, if you are familiar with the game proper, you will be fine playing this variant. So, now that you are familiar with California Blackjack let us look at some of the greats within the game.

Edward Thorp

Regarding blackjack, no matter the variant, Edward Thorp is a superstar. For blackjack players, the name Thorp is as popular as some of the most famous actors in the world. If you are unfamiliar, Edward Thorp is a mathematician and blackjack player widely regarded as the progenitor of card counting. In 1962, he published a book titled Beat the Dealer, which lists off strategies for card counting and increasing your chances at victory. While the book does not explicitly deal with California No Bust Blackjack, his tips easily apply to the game.

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Ken Uston

Next to Edward Thorp, Ken Uston is likely the most influential name in gambling. While Thorp introduced the concept of card counting to the world, Ken Uston perfected the concept of “team blackjack.” He shared his success in four books, the most notable of which is The Big Player. Uston also played a vital role in popularizing video games, writing several exceptional papers and books on the subject. From that perspective, we could say that Ken Uston’s success led to the popularization of online gambling. He has been the subject of a 60 Minutes segment and a History Channel documentary.

Al Francesco

And where would Ken Uston have been without his mentor? Al Francesco created the very concept of “team plays” in blackjack. He led the first successful blackjack team, which stormed Las Vegas. Mr. Francesco mentored a few notable blackjack players, including Ken Uston. Players can easily apply his theories and emulate his playstyle in most blackjack versions, including California No Bust Blackjack. The players he mentored went on to win numerous casino tournaments and become big names in the gambling world in their own right.

Bryce Carlson

Though Bryce Carlson did not revolutionize the game, he mastered all aspects. He took the card-handling strategy of Thorp, the masterful teamplay of Uston and Francesco, and added his own incredible card-counting camouflage technique. In doing so, the man became an unstoppable force in the blackjack world. On top of that, he also played a considerable role in the popularization of online casinos. In the 90s, when iGaming first got off the ground, he and his buddies gathered and played an international game together. Bryce Carlson has written a comprehensive blackjack book detailing his achievements, failings, tactics, and strategies. While the book does not apply solely to California No Bust Blackjack, players can efficiently utilize the methods outlined to win in this version.

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Other Notable Names

The four players on this list have had an incredible impact on the game. They’ve each contributed new playstyles, strategies, techniques, and methods to outsmart and beat the casinos at their own game. However, they are not the only players who have achieved great things. The following is a list of names that every up-and-comer should be familiar with:

·        The MIT Team: One of the most famous blackjack teams in the world, the MIT team began operations in the late 70s and played for more than 20 years. Numerous journalists have written about them; they’ve been the subject of the hit film 21, and Ben Mezrich, a member, has written two books detailing their exploits.


·        Arnold Snyder: Not only is Snyder a fantastic player, but he has also written one of the most successful books on blackjack. The Blackjack Formula is mandatory reading for any hopeful player.

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