Overview Blackjack Ball Article Past Winners Past Questions

Here’s a list of the blackjack and gambling greats who have cemented their place in professional blackjack lore by taking home the “Blackjack Cup.”

1997 Wally Simmons—One of the smartest and most creative minds in the professional gambling world, he’s a long-term associate of the Tommy Hyland blackjack team, a computer whiz and a guy no one in their right mind ever takes a bet from.

1998 “The Hobbit”—An alias (among many he’s used over the years), for one of blackjack’s most dangerous players, he’s scary smart and has successfully plied his trade against the casinos for two decades.

1999—“MIT Ted”—Possibly the most multi-dimensional propeller head ever to graduate from MIT, he shocked the crowed when he won both the arm wrestling and chip shuffling portions on his way to locking up the crown.

2000—“Cassie”—One of the Greek Team’s managers, the early line on her chances was wasn’t even on the board. The Yale Econ and Stanford Law grad came out of the field and swept the table while proving that, in the world of gambling anyway, brains are better than brawn.

2001 & 2002—Bradley Petersen—An inveterate playboy and gamesman, Petersen rocked the professional blackjack world by winning back-to-back titles.

2003—“Mr. Lucky”—A world-class traveler and multi-millionaire who’s liberated chips from casinos on every habitable continent, he started his professional gambling career at the ripe age of 21 and his life’s lessons paid off handsomely in ’03.

2004—James Grosjean—A Harvard math guy who’s the author of “Beyond Counting,” he’s currently regarded among those in the know as the best blackjack player on earth—and possibly the smartest.

2005—“The Hobbit”—He earned his second Cup while battling Grosjean, Filthy Phil (a two time finalist and 30-year pro) and breakthrough newcomer Keith Manicotti, a Cambridge (yep, the one in England) grad who’s picking up an MBA from Stanford this year, paid for courtesy of casinos all across America.

2006 - The Moray Eel-The ever-dangerous Eel was welcomed when he slithered in with a bottle of top-shelf bubbly and then he put his evil genius brains into gear and smoked two gambling attorneys (who’d obviously cheated their way to the final table) and the beautiful and multi-talented Joanna Wlodawer, known as the Queen of Spades in blackjack and poker circles.

2007. Grosjean scores again. And this time gaming attorney Bob Nersesian again made the finals, along with Pete the Grinder and Hall of Fame newcomer John Chang. With blackjack glory on the line, James took down the legendary winner of the 25th WSOP, notorious card counter and the founder of the Ultimate Blackjack Tour Russ Hamilton.

2008. Grosjean makes it a trifecta. . The world’s greatest blackjack player sealed his place in history when he took down the notorious Darryl P., on the last hand after finishing off tourney expert Joe Pane, “the girl who came out of nowhere” Doniele Bribe and Blackjack Ball fixture Pete the Grinder in a grueling five way matchup.