Lawrence Revere

(born Griffith K. Owens, aka Eugene Griffin, Paul Mann, Leonard “Spec” Parsons)

Lawrence Reverse started dealing blackjack in the back room of an Iowa barber shop. He then moved to Nebraska where he earned a degree in mathematics at the University of Nebraska. After receiving his degree, he moved west in 1943 to begin his career as a professional gambler. Revere worked on both sides of the game. His 28 year experience in the gambling business includes working as a pit boss, dealer, owner, troubleshooter, and professional blackjack player. It’s safe to say that Revere knew the business from the inside out.

Playing Blackjack as a Business

He is best known for his groundbreaking contribution to blackjack strategy, Playing Blackjack as a Business. The first issue was a self-published spiral-bound pamphlet. Not very impressive in appearance. Revere had not even bothered to copyright the text when he first published it in 1968, until John Luckman, founder of the Las Vegas Gamblers Book Club, convinced Revere in 1969 to protect his work from plagiarism. But this unimpressive-looking 36-page booklet proved the old saying in a very literal way: it changed card counting forever.

What Was the Fuss About?

Up till then, many players had been using cumbersome methods to keep track of the true count, systems that could give even the best of pros a thorough headache. In the second edition of Beat the Dealer, Edward Thorp mentioned a simplified Hi-Lo count, but never bothered to work it out into a functional system. Unlike others who dismissed it, Lawrence Revere saw that this system could be developed into a powerful tool. Revere’s method of calculating the true count was such an improvement that it has been used by almost every developer of balanced count point systems since.


Revere’s blackjack knowledge extended to expertise in hole card play and shuffle-tracking. He became such a celebrity in blackjack that he could boast of being banned from every since Nevada casino. He also taught other card counters how to use these techniques. Considering his reputation, his fees are said to have been moderate. There is also a rumour that he would test his students’ counting skills, but surreptitiously pull a card from the deck so that they would think they had gotten it wrong in order to motivate them to always practice harder.

Lawrence Revere died of lung cancer in 1977. He was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2005, together with computer programmer Julian Braun.