The Rise and Fall of Russ Hamilton

Blackjack Legend Russ Hamilton

Blackjack legends are few and far between, however, when they become famous it’s usually for card counting or for creating a system that actually pays. The attention was placed upon Blackjack legend Russ Hamilton because he is a poker player as well as a Blackjack player and this is quite rare. Players usually stick to one game while they perfect their methods and usually don’t stray, however, this guy seems to like both different card game variations. Russ began his time as a professional Poker player in Detroit, from there he moved to Las Vegas where he became interested in Blackjack.

Upon moving to a totally new city, he tried some new games and was immediately hooked by Blackjack. The game was very exciting to him which prompted back to back games. Hamilton teamed up with other Blackjack professionals such as Fred Davis, Stanford Wong, and Blair Rodman to name a few. This group of players was successful in their card counting endeavors and became quite a set of tournament players. But as usual, once you start gaining popularity or attention, the casinos start to ban you from competing in tournaments and more. With this, Hamilton decided that it was time to head back to the poker tournaments in the 1980s.

In 1994, Hamilton became a part of poker history by beating Hugh Vincent in the WSOP main event. He received a $1 million cash prize as well as his body weight in silver, Russ being a larger fella came up on some really big cash with the silver alone. It sure does pay to play right? It took him a while, but after some time he decided to head back to the Blackjack tables where he made an even bigger mark on the game by creating “Elimination Blackjack.” This is very much like the poker tournaments that we all know and love. The Elimination Blackjack game is a tournament format of Blackjack where people gradually are eliminated during the event. The game was a hit and drew the attention of various professional poker players that wouldn’t normally play Blackjack.

Because Russ was involved with the website Ultimate Bet, he is known to the Blackjack world as a cheat. The website was thrown into a media firestorm when it came to be that Russ and other developers were able to see their opponent’s hole cards. This left Hamilton with a $22 million payout which other players were robbed of. Unfortunately, because of this incident, he has lost the respect of other Blackjack as well as Poker players.

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