Key Learnings from the 23rd Annual BJ Ball Conference

The recent 10-year anniversary of the first Blackjack Ball provided plenty of memories for attendees. The event was a chance to meet some of their heroes and have conversations with experts like Tommy Hyland, Richard Munchkin, Dr. Thorp, and Max Rubin.

One highlight of the event was the annual 21 question quiz, which can be quite frustrating for those who have never made it to the final table. For some, the quiz questions predating their blackjack career were especially challenging. It’s worth noting that the Blackjack Ball has been a tradition for 23 years, and many attendees have been involved in the industry for much longer.

It was interesting to learn from conversations with seasoned professionals that some of the original members of the advantage play (AP) community are still active at the blackjack tables. Despite the increasing difficulty of finding quality games in Las Vegas due to the surge in 6:5 tables, there is hope in the fact that the rest of the US is experiencing a revolution in blackjack. This challenges the belief that blackjack is specific to Vegas and encourages considering other locations in the country that may offer better expected value (EV).

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear anecdotes and insights from industry veterans, including Mrs. Hyland, who has an amusing story about her initial reaction to her husband’s career as a card counter. The Blackjack Hall of Fame inducted Rob Reitzen this year, and his emotional acceptance speech emphasized the importance of the relationships and connections made within the blackjack community.

The event also highlighted the impact of friendships made through the Blackjack Ball and the Blackjack Apprenticeship. In the end, it’s not just about the cards, money, or expected value, but the significant and lasting impact of the connections made in the community, which attendees are grateful for.