Al Francesco is one of the most highly respected blackjack players in the history of the game. He is known as the inventor of team play, and specifically the "Big Player" concept. Virtually all of the blackjack teams, including the MIT team, used the "BP" strategy to hide their play.
Francesco started playing blackjack in the early 1960s and learned from Edward Thorp's teachings, specifically Thorp's Ten Count System. He got barred so much that he gave up playing for a few years, until he later learned a better counting system by Lawrence Revere. He started his first blackjack team in the 1970s and they went on to win millions of dollars from casinos. He came up with the idea for team play after getting barred from so many casinos that he had to come up with something new. So, one day when his brother was sitting at a table counting cards, Francesco would bet over his shoulder. He also taught Ken Uston how to count cards; Uston went on to write one of the most important gambling books in history, called "The Big Player".
The respect from the blackjack community for Al Francesco is due to his unrelenting desire to constantly improve his skills and desire to beat the game. His work led him to develop techniques casinos have never seen before. He became one of the first people elected into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2002.
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