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How I Went From Waiting Tables to Being a Professional Blackjack Player (on accident)


Friends and Card Counters, This is my first attempt at writing my full story of how I went from having one of the most ordinary jobs to one of the most extraordinary.

This report tells the story of how I made a career out of adding and subtracting the number one but more importantly it offers you 8,000 words of the lessons that I learned about life, business, and casinos.

(Free PDF – be sure to update to the most recent version of Adobe Reader)

Click here to download for free: 

  • How I bought 3 houses, paid for college, raised children, and never took a loan while only working 10 hours a week.
  • How getting hit by a car (or any accident) can be the best thing that ever happens to you
  • How to say “NO” to living a boring life
  • How we lived a life of “luxury” for under $10/day
  • How I built a business for $800
  • How to ask AND answer the right questions to determine if YOU should count cards
  • How to transition a hobby to a profession
  • Why Friends are the most important asset in any business proposition.
  • How I made $10,000 off of swim suit calendars
  • How going to school can get in the way of learning.
  • How to Choose a business partner
  • The MOST IMPORTANT question to ask to assess the risk of a new business venture.

What do you think? Did you find this manifesto helpful or inspiring? If so, Please make the world more awesome by doing these 2 things:

1) Let me know. Share your feedback in the comments section or write me directly.

2) Share it. Pass this along to a friend or boss (that may be a little weird). Since it’s free and electronic, it’s easy.


34 Responses to “How I Went From Waiting Tables to Being a Professional Blackjack Player (on accident)”

  1. Ivan says:

    That was awesome, I really enjoyed reading it. Its Colins turn!

  2. Linda says:

    Truly enjoyed you’re brief book. Life’s amazing circles.

  3. Flash says:

    Obvious hucksterism.

    This is such primitive introductory stuff that cdan be found anywhere.

    Go to bjinfo.com and bj21.com

  4. ben says:

    Flash –
    Thanks for helping me learn a new word.

    huck·ster (hkstr)
    1. One who sells wares or provisions in the street; a peddler or hawker.
    2. One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product.
    3. Informal One who writes advertising copy, especially for radio or television.

    I am curious as to which defiinition you believe my story falls under. “Street peddler” or “aggressive” and “showy?” =) I am also interested in this “anywhere” you are referring too. I love stories like this and have found very few of them written, which is why I decided to write mine out. I’ve been in the industry for almost 10 years and would love to read more. Feel free to send me the links. (BTW, I hope you’re not referring to Barfunkle’s VERY detailed account of every trip and session that he’s ever taken to Vegas. I appreciate his work but my story was never intended to fall into that genre.)

  5. Xavier says:

    Don’t be bothered by him Ben. I think his obsession with finding these sites or a get rich how-to brought him here and in doing so he’s failed to learn anything about Black Jack or life or the internet. It’s a spirited game you sell your heart to. And this book, however small in his world it may be is massive in the hands of someone like me. I read it, and I believe your experiences from your eye view. I won’t have the same experiences, but the story is about what you found through Black Jack. Not with Black Jack or anything that Black Jack caused or gave you. All this story says, is what you learned about yourself. And that’s why it’s a badass ebook. Its an inspiration to look forward to when I’m not 24. Can I say I learned the same things? And can I say I didn’t crash and burn or get blasted in a dark alleyway after years of drugs and power? Pretty good read Ben.:)

  6. pvt.punch says:

    That was a good read Ben. Actually it was a bit spooky how you took 3 months off to go on a bike trip. I’m planning on taking 10 weeks off to go on a bike trip – already booked the tickets! (Hope I don’t get hit by a car though)

  7. ben says:

    Ivan + Linda, Glad you enjoyed it.

    Xavier – thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you are reading it as I intended it. There are so many lessons to learn from life. I happened to learn mine in blackjack.

    pvt.punch – where are you biking. watch out for cars but then again, that as just what I needed! =)

  8. Andy B says:

    Hi Ben:

    I am the 88 year old in the pinto. I am glad I had such a profound influence on your life. By the way, it wasn’t an “accident”.

    Interesting little story you have there.

  9. ben says:

    haha. oh “andy” b. without your help i would never have experienced the joys of involuntary BP sessions or potbelly subs.

  10. Scott says:

    Haven’t read it yet. I just wanted to know if your racquetball game went to hell because of 21 or because your 31.

  11. Ash says:

    Mate, that was one of the best true stories i’ve read. Very inspiring and motivating, there’s a lot I can and I know others can relate to. Thanks for the great read and you guys are doing an excellent job with the site, all my best wishes.

  12. Denise says:

    Hey Ben,

    I have read the whole story by now and just about on page 20 I thought? Why don’t they make a movie about his story? It would be better than the “Black Jack”-Story about the MIT-Students, that came out in 2008!

    Respect, great story!

  13. Alain Duckers says:

    this is one hack of a story! :)
    Hmm i might want to consider counting cards seriously.
    But i have a question though. After the movie 21 (thats where i got in touch) don’t you think there are a HECK of a lot more people who want to count card’s? and as a reasult the casino has 50/50 counter’s/gamblers. it isn’t profiteble anymore so they cut away the BJ tables. Or you think there is ALWAYS more to win for the casino becouse of the gamblers?

    Like to hear from you ben


  14. Ben says:

    Alain – I have had one experience in my life where there were more card counters than gamblers in a casino. Then they stopped giving us all lobster for lunch.

  15. andrew says:

    Hey Ben! I read your story last night and really enjoyed it. I can relate to a lot of things in it. After a year at my old job working in a grocery store, I got bored too and knew there had to be something more to life than this. I’ve been wanting to count cards for 2 years now but I am only 20. Anyhow, I quit my job anyway and moved to NJ about an hour away from AC. I can say no to the question “Can you not do it?” because I am also the person who needs to keep moving on to new challenges. BTW, I have a lot of “good ideas” too even though they don’t always pan out like planned. Enough of my story. Just one question for ya Ben, are you a Pisces too? :)

  16. Jerry says:


    WOW! I agree with previous post where it would make a better movie than ’21′ did. Your story is just incredible with just the small amount of info that you did include. Definitely a true inspiration for sure. Hope your family is doing well, and who knows, maybe one day you will pass along your BJ knowledge to your children and have a whole new team…

    Thanks for sharing your remarkable story that us commoners can relate to.

    Best regards!

  17. Ryan says:

    Good stuff Ben! I really enjoyed learning more of the details of your story.

  18. Emanuel says:

    First i read the few statements you made at the begining:”I’ve bought 3 houses,how i made 10000 bucks ,etc.”and said to my self No,not another fake add to buy who knows what book or who knows what DVD on how to make money in blackjack-the internet is full of them.But after i’ve read that pdf file containing your life’s story:WOW,MAN you can’t fake that,no way.This is how life works,this is real.

  19. Matt says:

    Thanks for the goosebumps and major extra inspiration. i read it like it was a movie and put myself in your shoes, and my bestfriend luke, in colins shoes. true grit to say the least.

    and i can relate to the whole restaurant ordeal. im not a waiter but i work at mcdonalds with my bestfriend and one day i brought up the subject of not being stuck flippin patties our whole life and doing something “off the tracks” with it. i came across the idea of card counting simply because i fell in love with it. half because of the movie 21 (yes that movie puts incorrect perspectives on card counting) and half because i played blackjack with my friends during spare and always lost. essentially being a gambler, not an investor.

    so ive read a fair number of hours and watched all your videos to gain as much knowledge as possible about BJ, card counting, bankroll and such. then i taught my friend the basics and got him into it as much as i am now. WITH THAT SAID, me and him are almost done highschool and will be taking your bootcamp ASAP.

    you will be seeing me and luke in the near future. and we will be packing determination.

    thanks again.

  20. Stan Cool says:

    I’ve always wondered if anyone could actually make money playing blackjack. When I retired I bought and studied as much about bj as I could. I can count down a deck in 14 seconds and learned the hi-lo count with the 18indices. However most casinoes here all use CSMs so you can’t count. I was hoping to earn a second income
    in my retirement years but haven’t been able to. I enjoy the game
    but will never make big money because I play at $10 tables.
    Good luck with your school..

  21. Stan Cool says:

    My first bj book was Kevin Blackwood’s Play Blackjack Like the Pros and it was actually the only one I needed. That was five years ago. Using basic strategy only I won $2300 my first two years but it’s been up and down since then.
    Good luck again

  22. colin says:


    I actually just got emailed from Kevin Blackwood in regards to our documentary. I’m going to be reading his book, “The Counter” asap.

    It’s impossible to beat blackjack with just basic strategy, but you should be able to keep the casino’s advantage to a minimum. Best Regards!

  23. Mitch W. says:

    Now THAT was a good read.

    a couple questions. How much of your success was luck? I understand that the card counting system brings you to an advantage, but when you were down to $800, who’s to say that that wasn’t going to me the night where you experienced negative variance? What would you have done if that $800 was lost?

    How well did you know the game when you put that last $800 down? It seems that looking back on it, you felt as though you were a total amateur at that time.

    Why was $110 000 confiscated and why did you have that much cash on you at an airport!? Could you not put it in a bank? Or does that just arouse suspicion for illegal activities as far as the bank is concerned? (You don’t need to answer this if you’re not comfortable with it.)

    When you took that last 800 bucks, did you trade it all in for chips or only a certain portion?

    Thanks for the read =)

  24. Champagne Supernova says:

    I remember reading this e-book when I first discovered this site (wow has it been that long already?) and I thought it was an interesting and unique story.

    Read it again today and it now hits very close to home. It parallels with what’s going on with my personal life and the progression of my blackjack career. The loneliness of my counting venture, no safety net and the emotional stress from doing it alone sometimes make me question why am I really doing this? Why am I so dedicated and focus about beating this game? The obvious reason would be the money part, but I know there is more.

    Perhaps I am in this journey to attain more of life’s greatest luxury, time. The thought of having a 9-5 job makes me cringe and by going through with this long term business enterprise it will bring me that much closer to having the personal freedom of never clocking in. It is psychological warfare and I want to conquer it.

    Maybe it also makes me feel that I know I am doing something worthwhile and this validates my existence and my importance on this planet. A story to tell when it’s all over? I can say I went to war and while I lost plenty of battles, in the end, I won the war.

    Hope to see you out there!

  25. Colin says:

    Champagne Supernova,
    That’s really awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad to hear card counting has been a valuable asset for your life.

  26. kbennett says:

    Good stuff! My wife and I just watched the documentary last night. We loved it! I’m curious, are casinos changing their tactics these days to prevent more people from counting cards? I want to read some of the old books on it, but I don’t want outdated info that isn’t practical to learn because the times have changed.

  27. Colin says:


    Card counting has been around for over 50 years. Casinos have done some things to prevent card counting, but it still exists. In some ways, it’s not as easy as it used to be, but with the number of casinos in the country now, there are so many places to play! I don’t know a single person who can’t find beatable blackjack games they can still play play in the US. And that’s just good old fashioned card counting…

  28. eric says:

    That was an excellent story. I am very impressed by the loyalt you showed your friends. I was wondering what age were you and how much money had you made by the time you took on friends as partners?

  29. Colin says:

    To be honest, I don’t think Ben or I remember as far as early on. We didn’t keep great records until we teamed up. I know I won a couple thousand.

  30. Marcus says:

    Good read. The short ping-pong story was the first time in a while that I’ve laughed out loud while reading a ‘book’.

  31. Dave says:

    Inspiring!! A natural and heroic tale of David and Goliath. An example of the critical thinking (out of the box) needed to crack the odd world we live in. As a FOREX professional I can relate to the hours and mindset. And its True! Sometimes stranger than fiction, but in the end, very rewarding. After looking at all the numbers I think Blackjack pays more, much more per hour; I’ve got some more studying to do, talk to you soon.

  32. FelipeV says:

    Great story. Reiterates the importance of family and friends in life’s adventures.

  33. Alan says:

    I can really relate to your narrative. I have the typical 8 to 4 job, but beginning this year have resolved to become an advantage player. My progress is in the embryonic stage(still trying to perfect basic strategy play).However, your story goes a long way in fortifying my resolve and determination. Thank you.