Stacking the Odds in Your Favor
A dynamic Greek is teaching others how to win at blackjack
Vas Spanos became fascinated with blackjack while attending the University of Athens. A gifted mathematician, he was excited by the laws of probability on which the game is based. Through a little experimentation, it wasn't long before he developed a system for mastering the game.

Blackjack dealers from coast to coast keep a sharp eye out for the likes of Vas Spanos. He's a card counter-probably the best there is. Spanos is so notorious for his winning ways, if the dynamic Greek wants to gamble, he does so in disguise.

With a mathematics degree from Athens and a penchant for gambling, Spanos has developed a system for playing smart at the blackjack table. However, because of his success, he is not welcome to play at the casinos. Many casinos have even barred him from playing-all because he won't throw his money away. Spanos doesn't let that stop him, though, and he often sneaks into casinos. He plays characters in the casinos, dressed in a disguise.

Spanos is bothered by casino policies against card counting. "They don't want smart gamblers in their clubs, only naive ones. They don't want anyone that can really win," he says in his thick Mediterranean accent. Spanos gambles smart, and pities those who gamble "dumb," relying on pure luck to bring them winnings. For that reason, Spanos wants to help people learn how to play blackjack the smart way. He opened his Strategy Blackjack school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1980. Since then, thousands of his graduates have gone on to earn millions from casinos worldwide.

He is also offering a correspondence course that people can buy over the Internet for those who want to learn, but do not have the time to come to Minneapolis to discover his secrets. This course is exactly like the course taught at Spanos' school, but the student learns at his/her own pace. At the end of the course, the graduate will have learned the skills necessary to come out ahead at the blackjack tables. Those interested can sign up for the course at

Statistically, students follow Spanos' techniques can expect blackjack victories seven out of eight times in a 30 hour period. "A person will average significant profits for the rest of their lives if they use my technique," Spanos said. "I eliminate the concept of gambling and make it a scientific strategy."

Topics for Discussion

  • How does one count cards without getting caught?
  • How did Spanos get his start in blackjack?
  • What are some tips to help a blackjack player?
  • How does one become a blackjack expert?
  • What are some of Spanos' encounters with casino managers?
  • What does it take to learn card counting?
Blackjack Facts
  1. Blackjack is one player game. The player's opponent is the game, not the dealer (who has a fixed strategy (i.e. stands on 17 or more and hits anything less).
  2. In Blackjack there are two types of play:
    Defensive plays - Player stands on 12 (hard 12) versus dealer's 4 to minimize an upcoming loss (to lose less)
    Offensive plays - Player doubles down on 9 (hard 9) versus dealer's 5 to maximize an upcoming win (to win more)
  3. There are two types of wins - meaningless and meaningful. A win is meaningless when the player has, for example, 18 and the dealer has 17! Why? Because the number of times you have 18 and the dealer has 17 are equal to the number of times you have 17 and the dealer has 18. So when you win having 18 vs. the dealer's 17 you are going to give the money back. A meaningful win is when you count the cards and at some point the "count" tells you to double down on a (say) 8 vs. the dealer's 4 because the deck(s) is "10 rich". You expect the dealer to "bust" and he does! You win double off a big bet, assuming the original bet was big. Odds favor you when the deck is "10 rich." This cannot be reversed. You get to keep that money.
  4. If you don't count the cards, you don't know when the odds favor you. Therefore you don't know when to place the big bet or how to play your hand (i.e. when to double down or split or stand) and therefore how to exploit meaningful wins.
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with Vas Spanos, please call Media Relations at 1-800-550-7010 or visit .

Vas Spanos Bio
Vas Spanos is one of the world's premier educators in strategy blackjack. Originally from Greece, he earned his B.S. in mathematics at the University of Athens. In 1969, he moved to Canada where he earned his M.S. at the University of Ottawa and began teaching. In 1972, he moved to the United States to work towards a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota where he taught mathematics until 1980. He started the Strategy Blackjack school later that year.