Zeljko Ranogajec — The World’s Biggest Punter
Zeljko Ranogajec is most famous for his gambling on horse races, but he started out as a blackjack player so skilled that he earned the admiration of the experts and election to the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
Getting Started at Blackjack
Zeljko Ranogajec was born in 1961 to a family of Croatian immigrants in Hobart, Australia. Recognized as a mathematical genius, he studied at the University of Tasmania for a degree in Commerce and Law. While at the University, he also worked part-time at the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart, where he quickly learned the art of blackjack card counting.
Success at the Blackjack Casinos
Zeljko transferred to the University of New South Wales, but his main interest by that point was in playing blackjack and not in his studies, and he eventually dropped out of the University without obtaining his degree. His blackjack strategy skills were so great, and he won so much money at the blackjack tables, that, by the mid-1980s, he had been barred from playing, first at Wrest Point, then at Jupiters Casino on the Australian Gold Coast, and then from other Australian casinos as well.
Zeljko took his business overseas, but his continuing success caused him to get barred from blackjack casinos throughout the United States. He returned to Australia and eventually, just as his main interest had changed from Commerce and Law to blackjack years earlier, it now changed from blackjack to horse racing.
The World’s Biggest Punter
It is in the world of horse-race gambling that Zeljko Ranogajec has made his biggest mark. While based in Australia, he bets electronically at tracks all over the world, using sophisticated and highly detailed computer, video, and mathematical analyses that enable him to bet huge sums on horses whose actual odds of winning he has determined to be greater than the posted odds. Starting out with the considerable bankroll he had won at the blackjack casinos, he has literally earned billions of dollars on the horses and is widely considered to be the world’s biggest punter ever.
Election to the Blackjack Hall of Fame
Zeljko’s election to the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2011 took many by surprise. Zeljko is a reclusive man who does give interviews or appear on television or seek publicity, and hence was not well known to the general public. But the blackjack experts who make up the election committee understood that the reclusive Zeljko Ranogajec was one of the best blackjack players ever, and they honored him accordingly.
For more information, please visit:
- The Blackjack Hall of Fame
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