Tommy Hyland - Blackjack Player

One of the most well-known blackjack players of today, and one of the few that featured in the first/original list of blackjack legends, is Tommy Hyland. He is one of those rare few blackjack players who are not only exceptionally good at blackjack but equally talented when it comes to man management, and he has used this superb combination of qualities to run blackjack teams that give casinos a run for their money.

To put it simply, Tommy Hyland is the man who has managed to not just become an excellent blackjack player and card counter, but also forged together blackjack teams that have defied the odds and stayed united to become the most successful team in blackjack history. He has run his team of blackjack players for over 25 years now, notching up wins to the tune of millions of dollars each year. Hyland’s team is considered better than even the MIT team, a rare compliment and honor.

Tommy Hyland – Early Days

Tommy Hyland grew up in New Jersey. He had a rather early introduction to gambling, at around 10 years of age, when he bet on a sporting event. However, he and his friends were already throwing coins and nickels against the wall, a very simple gambling game, and Hyland was scoring wins against his friends even then.

When Tommy Hyland reached high school he started getting involved in sports betting. However, he was not too successful at this venture, ending up selling his pool table to pay out the others. By the time Hyland reached college, at Wittenburg, Ohio, where he studied political science, he had graduated to the next level – playing poker and other such card games. He was also a golfer, and placed bets on that game as well as on backgammon.

Tommy Hyland – Introduction to Blackjack

Tommy Hyland came into contact with blackjack only later. His inspiration for taking up the game was from the book Playing Blackjack as a Business, by Lawrence Revere. Once he bought the book and read it, he was hooked and he started visiting Atlantic City, just 50 miles away, in 1978.

All the while, Tommy Hyland continued to read up on blackjack and the techniques associated with it, especially card counting. He read Stanford Wong’s book, and also Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston, and also picked up tips and information from card counters he met at the casinos he visited with his room mates.

Uston’s book made Hyland realize the importance of team play in blackjack and soon he, along with his room mate and a few other card counters they had met earlier, formed their own blackjack team in October 1979. In 1979, his blackjack team had just four members. With each of them pooling in $4,000, they hit the Atlantic City casinos, swelling their bankroll from $16,000 to $50,000 in just a year. At the end of 1980, Hyland had put together a 20-member team and has not looked back since.

Tommy Hyland – Blackjack Team

Tommy Hyland and his team have had quite a few face-offs with the casinos they visit. Hyland has been intimidated, threatened, kidnapped, and more. One casino owner even threatened to kill him. His name has featured numerous times in the Peter Griffin books, compilations made by Griffin Investigations Inc. that listed names of card counters and cheats and offered them to casinos.

However, Hyland refuses to back down. He has dragged the casinos to the courthouse and also supported the rights of players. Other players consider him a gentleman and that probably matters way more than what the casinos have to say about him. Tommy Hyland was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2003, one of the original inductees into that elite category.

In 1994, some of Hyland’s team members were arrested for ‘ace sequencing’ at Canada’s Casino Windsor. The judge finally ruled in their favor, stating that use of ‘intelligent strategy’ was not the same as cheating

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Professional Blackjack Players / Authors