Women blackjack players are proving that blackjack for real money isn’t just a man’s game. For many years people have tended to think of blackjack, poker, and other card games as male-dominated sports. This is changing with the emergence of several women who are highly skilled blackjack players. Even though there don’t seem to be as many professional women blackjack players as men, some of them deserve a special mention.
Alice Walker hails from Houston, Texas, and in 2007 she secured herself a place in blackjack history by becoming the first woman to win the World Series of Blackjack by besting 39 other players in tournament play. The World Series of Blackjack was developed by GSN and ran for four years on the GSN television network. During its run, the tournament included some of the best blackjack players in the world today as well as celebrities who all competed for a $500,000 first prize.
Alice learned how to play blackjack when she was just three years old, and her lifelong devotion to her skills has paid off with many blackjack tournament wins as well as a championship in Three-Card Poker. Walker is the only player to win the Three-Card Poker Championship and the World Series of Blackjack in back-to-back fashion.
Would it surprise you to know that the first recorded professional blackjack player was a woman? Eleanor Dumont was born in France but later came to the United States. Her familiarity with Vingt-Et-Un, the ancestor of modern blackjack, led her to establish a gambling hall in the rough mining town of Nevada City, California. This was in 1854. She named her saloon/casino Vingt-Et-Un.
The Vingt-Et-Un was very popular with the local gold miners. Eleanor Dumont was usually the dealer, but she was a fierce player as well. The men, however, were swayed by Dumont’s feminine wiles and she eased the pain of losing by giving them free champagne. You could say that Eleanor Dumont owned the first United States casino that gave players free drinks!
Eventually, the mining community in Nevada City dried up and Dumont was forced to move her operation elsewhere. She ran the Vingt-Et-Un in Montana and Idaho, as well as Virginia City before returning to Brodie, California where she passed away in 1879.
Eleanor Dumont was nominated to the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2006, but failed to gain enough votes for admission. This indicates that, despite the contributions of various women, blackjack is still regarded as a man’s game.
Cathy “Cat” Hulbert
Cat Hulbert is a born and bred New Yorker whose love of blackjack and gambling paid for a college education. Like many card players of her era, Cat Hulbert decided that academics were not for her and she decided to become a professional card player at the age of 24 in 1976. Hulbert immediately moved to Las Vegas to pursue her dream. Things didn’t work out immediately and Cat was forced to become a blackjack dealer in order to survive.
While dealing blackjack, Cat Hulbert encountered a man who always seemed to win large amounts of money. He would raise and lower his bets at just the right time. This intrigued Cat, and she asked him about it. The man, known only as “Peter”, eventually took Cat Hulbert under his wing and taught her the principles of card counting. With her college background, Cat was a quick learner. She became a valued member of Peter’s card counting team. The team made millions in Europe.
When Cat returned to the states she became a member of the legendary blackjack team organized and ran by Ken Uston. Even though the team made a fortune, Uston was not very skilled at keeping his team under the radar. Cat Hulbert was banned from more than 150 casinos and arrested more than 50 times.
Today, Hulbert no longer plays blackjack. Instead, she focuses on stud poker and has become an outstanding player. She has been called the greatest female gambler on earth.
Those are a few, many more exist.