James Grosjean

The Hole Card that Started it All

The story goes that James Grosjean became interested in advantage play while playing blackjack as a graduate student at the mathematics department of the University of Chicago. While playing one night he spotted the hole card clumsily handled by a dealer. This instantly sparked an interest in calculating the advantage he could derive from this information.

Beyond Counting

In 2000, James Gosjean published his first book, Beyond Counting: Exploiting Casino Games from Blackjack to Video Poker, a mathematics-oriented work in which he explores a number of other casino games as well as blackjack systems, the advantages of partner play, and discusses advantage players, dealers and cheaters. Exhibit CAA: Beyond Counting is the most recent update of this book.

Legal Battles

What James Gosjean is most renowned for, however, are his blackjack-related litigations. He successfully sued Imperial Palace, winning a $400,000 (~R2.7m) verdict. He has lawsuits pending against Ceasar’s Palace and against four agents of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. He is also responsible for the bankruptcy of the Griffin Agency.

The End of the Griffin Agency

The Griffin Agency had been keeping a book on advantage players, cheaters and criminals for over ten years, in which they made no distinction between card counters and other advatage players and criminals. It was the Griffin Agency that ended the winning spree of the MIT blackjack team, and caused many other players to be unjustly harassed and treated as criminals by casinos. The Agency had to declare bankruptcy after Grosjean and Michael Russo were awarded $45,659 (~R300,000) in damages due to mistreatment they had received from casinos after being blacklisted as cheaters by the Agency.

James Grosjean was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2006. He still plays blackjack today, although he does have to adopt various disguises to prevent being recognized and barred immediately.