Uston, Kenneth. (aka Kenneth Usui) (Jan 12, 1935 – Sept 17, 1987) The famous professional player and author of several blackjack books including The Big Player and Million Dollar Blackjack. Ken Uston was probably one of the most flamboyant, controversial, and famous characters the blackjack world has ever seen. Uston and his teams reportedly won millions in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos during the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Uston died of an apparent heart attack in his rented vacation apartment in Paris, France at the age of only 52. The cause of death remained undetermined, since an autopsy was not performed and the body was cremated. According to reports, local police found no evidence of foul play. Alcohol and drug abuse were strongly suspected by several people who knew Uston intimately. A 2002 member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame. See Uston Advanced Point Count. See Reports.
[ Jan/Feb 88 Roberts A Double Dose of Death GT]
[ 14 Blackjack Confidential Nov 97 ] [ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Uston ]
[ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackjack_Hall_of_Fame ]
[ blackjackbomb.com/ken-uston/ ] [ Official Ken Uston Site ]
Ken Uston’s blackjack career quickly became a legend. Since giving up his senior position as a Senior Vice President of the Pacific Stock exchange, having degrees from Yale and Harvard, Ken quickly achieved both admiration and hate from casino bosses and fellow card counters alike as he had his own ideas how to “go about business”, challenging major casinos both on the blackjack tables and in court rooms as casinos tried to bar him and other card counters from playing their blackjack games. He essentially beat the Atlantic City casinos into submission and to this day his court victory allows anyone counting cards to play without being barred in New Jersey.
Ken swept through the casinos even when they tried to bar him, cosmetically disguising himself and inventing some hilarious characters along the way. His legal team combated the casinos in their attempts to persuade the gaming commission that card counting was nothing but cheating. He was beaten and threatened several times and generally treated without the constraint found in today’s litigious society and ‘corporate’ Las Vegas. Ken’s game was big money and casinos weren’t about to just give it up easily.
“The Big Player”, Ken Uston, in the $50,000 blackjack
challenge televised on the David Harman ABC Special.
KEN USTON’s 80s MEDIA COVERAGE
NATIONAL TELEVISION SHOW APPEARENCES
- 60 Minutes
- Good Morning America
- David Hartman Special (shown)
- BBC Television Special
MAJOR MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLES
- Sports Illustrated
- New York Times Magazine
- People Magazine
- US Magazine
MAJOR NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
- New York Times
- The Wall Street Journal
- San Francisco Chronicle
- Philadelphia Enquirer
- London Daily Express
- Washington Post
- San Francisco Examiner
- Los Angeles Times
- Los Angeles Herald Tribune
- International Herald Tribune
EXAMPLES OF SOME KEN USTON DISQUISES
Scanned photo from the December 1996 Atlantic City
Magazine showing some various disguises Ken used.
Ken Uston – The Big Player
Photo courtesy Dale Crase Productions – San Francisco
Ken Uston with Harry Reasoner during the 60 Minutes story that aired in 1981 on CBS.
For more information on Ken Uston visit Uston.com.