Al Francesco - Master of Blackjack Team Play
Al Francesco was born in Gary, Indiana. From his very young years he was inclined to card games - even in his hometown Al was known as a good and experienced player - and he really was, because instead of regular job he played cards constantly, earning his living money.
In several years, Al Francesco moved to California. There he faced with card-counting system - and it faced him in the appearance of Edward O. Thorp's book "Beat the Dealer".
After spending some time on reading Thorp's book, Al Francesco decides to go and try his fortune and card-counting skills in casino. The only thing that he didn't take into his consideration was that Thorp's Ten Count system was rather difficult to be applied on practice at once, and after spending some time in casino trying to count cards and applying card-counting system he read about, Al had to leave with a terrific headache.
But from his childhood Al Francesco distinguished among others with great obstinacy, and he spent much time reading "Beat the Dealer" and making out principles of Thorp's system, so when after a considerable period of time he returned to the casino armed with his knowledge, this was a crushing defeat for gambling houses.
The Big Player
Al Francesco proceeded to play successfully at the casinos for about a year and a half. But still, pit bosses didn't like card counters very much and, moreover, card counters were rather easy to detect - by wide divergence of their high bets and low bets. In this way Al began to be recognizable in casinos and the casinos, in their turn, barred him and didn't let to play.
Al understood that it was inevitable and that some new method should be applied, which comprised using card counting not being detected as a card counter. And the method appeared occasionally - while Al had rest with his family in one of Lake Tahoe casinos.
Team Play Genius
Card counters usually are detected in the following way: they bet high when their odds are high and they bet low when odds are low. Al Francesco understood this and used a team-play method that could hardly be detected ever: a few card counters play at different tables, betting small stakes but still counting cards sharply. When odds turn to the player's side, such player makes a special sign to the Big Player, who enjoys spending time in a casino and looks nothing more like a full of money tourist who just to spend coins. Card counter leaves the "counted" table, and the Big Player comes up, bets big sums of money and wins. Everything looks absolutely natural and the system is hard to be discovered even theoretically.
End of Team
Al Francesco's teams earned millions of dollars. And one of the recruiters Francesco took into his team was Ken Uston, who later left and published a book "The Big Player", which brought the end to Al's teams. Meanwhile Al Francesco retired from big blackjack and now is fond of sports stakes, horse racing etc.