Inaugurated in 2002, the Blackjack Hall of Fame is located within the premises of the Barona Casino in San Diego, California. Besides professional players, inductees include blackjack authors and other experts.
Members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame are responsible for nominating new candidates. Voting on which of the nominated candidates are to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is done by people who are invited to the Blackjack Ball.
Each Blackjack Hall of Fame inductee receives permanent lifetime free benefits from Barona Casino, which include full room, food, and drinks. The caveat is that inductees will not play on the casino's blackjack tables.
Here are a few of the latest members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame, the year of their induction, and their career highlights.
Besides playing blackjack, Curtis is active in the world of publishing. He runs the publishing house Huntington Press, which has released books about gambling, among others. Curtis also publishes the Las Vegas Advisor newsletter, which focuses on discounts in Las Vegas.
Curtis's interest in gambling began when he read Charles Einstein's book How to Win at Blackjack when he was 16 years old. He relocated to Las Vegas in 1975, just before he turned 21, to become a professional gambler and develop his blackjack strategy.
Curtis has won more than half a million dollars as a professional gambler. Blackjack games as well as craps and keno tournaments Curtis has participated in include:
One of the events contributing to Reitzen's legendary status was his winning of more than $500,000 at Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas on a single weekend. His mastery of blackjack strategies, use of sequencing techniques, and skills at tracking shuffles and card counting have all enabled him to beat the game in innovative ways.
Reitzen's pursuit of a career as a professional blackjack player began in the 1980s. In one of his interviews, he recalls winning around $20,000 during a game in underground casino in Amsterdam. He is also one of the founding partners of CORE, a hugely profitable player-banking operation.
Called one of the most underrated blackjack players, Wally Simmons has won millions of dollars by using sophisticated blackjack strategies and techniques long before they became popular.
A savvy computer programmer, Simmons created some of the earliest electronic shuffle tracking computers, which added substantially to his income portfolio. In addition, he found success in the horse racing prognostication field.
Another factor adding to Simmons' legendary status in the blackjack realm was what was known as Wally's Super Bowl Party. The event went on for more than a dozen years and drew the creme de la creme of the blackjack world.
His experience as a gaming regulator and as a racetrack and casino executive game Don Johnson many opportunities to observe blackjack players and analyze their strategies. He started playing low-stake blackjack games for fun. Later, he learned the mathematics behind blackjack and ways in which casinos catered to high rollers.
This led to Johnson's most celebrated achievement, which was to win more than $15 million over a six-month period in 2011 by beating three Atlantic City casinos: the Tropicana, Borgata, and Caesars.