There are some people who would argue that James Grosjean is the best blackjack player in the world today. You have never heard of him? Don’t feel too bad. He also seems to be one of the least-known figures in our collection of blackjack celebrities. The story of James Grosjean is an interesting one, so we have chosen to include him.
Counting Edge is mainly dedicated to card counting in its many forms. While Grosjean is definitely a card counter, he also falls into the category of advantage player. In recent years, advantage players have come to be a bigger threat to the casinos. Indeed, James Grosjean has found himself in the sights of casino security on more than one occasion. He even challenged the casinos in court.
About James Grosjean
Little information seems to be known about the upbringing of James Grosjean. What is known is that he evidenced an aptitude for mathematics at a very early age. This really seems to be the case with a large number of blackjack professionals. What stands out about Grosjean is that his interests in blackjack developed earlier than most. By all accounts, he was reading Ken Uston at the age of 12. Uston was one of the early proponents of card counting and a popular blackjack author.
College called and James Grosjean found himself enrolled at the University of Chicago where he pursued a Master’s Degree in mathematics. When he was not in school, Grosjean could often be found on one of the nearby riverboats that offered casino gambling. He had an almost savant-like skill that was successful right from the start. Unfortunately, his green nature also made him stand out like a sore thumb. Casinos soon began to label Grosjean as an advantage player.
Casinos consider advantage players to be anyone that uses techniques which go beyond the ordinary use of basic blackjack strategy. It often seems that the term has been created in order to allow casinos another way to blacklist players that win. Advantage players like James Grosjean can use a number of different methods to accomplish their goals. These can include counting, observing tables to see when an opportunity arises, and raising and lowering bets.
Grosjean also became an expert in learning how to spot the dealer’s hole card. The first time it happened, Grosjean was immediately taken by how knowing what the hole card was affected his odds as a player. He went on the study ways to exploit weak dealers in this regard.
James Grosjean Writes About Advantage Play
It is very common for successful blackjack players to write about their strategies and techniques. Grosjean is no exception. His most famous work to date is Beyond Counting: Exploiting Casino Games from Blackjack to Video Poker. As the name of the book suggests, Grosjean explores advantage play on a number of casino games. The book was published in 2000, and it further served to put a target on the back of Grosjean.
What James Grosjean was about to realize was something his favorite author, Ken Uston, had come to realize many years before. Whenever you publish a gambling book under your real name, the casinos take notice. He may have had little difficulty getting into casinos before he outed himself with the book, but Grosjean quickly found himself under suspicion.
The casinos began to take aggressive measures to prevent James Grosjean from playing blackjack and other casino games.
The Casinos Strike Back at James Grosjean
In Las Vegas Griffin Investigations has long been tasked with identifying card counters, cheats, and advantage players. The stories of the old days are legend. Back then, an accusation of cheating could easily end in a visit to the hospital or worse. As time moved on, the Griffin agency was also believed to be the keeper of the infamous black book which listed all the players that have been blackballed in Las Vegas.
While playing at the Linq casino in Las Vegas, then known as the Imperial Palace, in the early 2000s, James Grosjean was allegedly detained by Griffin operatives and other casino personnel. He was accused of advantage play and other things such as card counting. Griffin maintained his innocence and was eventually allowed to leave, but he was prohibited from returning and apparently added to the black book.
James Grosjean decided to fight back. He filed a suit in court against the agency and the Imperial Palace claiming that he was illegally detained. The courts ruled in his favor with a judgment of more than $500,000. As of the time this article was written, the matter was still under appeal int the Nevada courts.
James Grosjean has continued to be a force to be reckoned with in professional blackjack. He was the youngest person inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame, and he still participates in blackjack tournaments today. He has also competed in the World Series of Blackjack. Grosjean was also a regular on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour television program.
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