Al Francesco: The Real Big Player
Al Francesco is the Man Behind the Blackjack Teams
Francesco Was a Blackjack Innovator
Initially, Francesco found that solo card counting was not particularly profitable; it was easily detectable and he was banned from casinos time after time. He even gave the game up for a while, but he never stopped trying to figure out a way to beat the house. Francesco came to the conclusion that team play was the way.
Francesco started small — he actually kept his team to a few family members — but he won consistently and, because he was not the one actually doing the card counting (which is the whole idea behind team play), the casinos didn't catch on to the strategy. Ken Uston's book inadvertently blew the whistle on Francesco's approach but it also led to some of the greatest teams in blackjack history, including the MIT Team. These teams, who rake in millions every year (and are still partially in operation), have Al Francesco to thank. He is considered a pillar of blackjack and in 2003 he was one of the first seven Blackjack Hall of Fame inductees, thus getting the recognition he deserves.