If you are a fan of Blackjack, you must have heard of Zeljko Ranogajec, a highly respected and former professional blackjack player. If you haven’t, it’s because he did not publish any books or information on his winning strategies or playing methods. Stories have been told of the kings of Blackjack, but where does Zeljko fall in? From a starting bankroll of few hundred dollars to becoming millionaire in the making, here is a story of how Zeljko built a legacy as a professional blackjack player.
Where it all began
Zeljko Ranogajec was born in 1961, Hobart, Australia in a family of Croatian immigrants, that explains the origin of his name. He began his gambling journey while working as a card counter at Wrest Point Casino in Australia. Zeljko would spend his free time at work playing games at the casino. His personal preference was Blackjack. Through observation, he was convinced that some techniques were involved for one to win.
Zeljko Ranogajec was drawn to studying and mastering card strategies. He would spend most of his time reading about the card strategies and practicing his skills on the casino tables. Since he was math smart, he could count the cards naturally, and from there, he started to play Blackjack. Zeljko realized that from playing, he was making more money than the salary he got from his casino job. Eventually, he had to quit his casino job and even left college just to concentrate on playing Blackjack. Things were always different after he chose the new path.
Big wins: Zeljko dominates Blackjack tables
Even after quitting his job at Wrest Point, Zeljko still enjoyed returning to feel the casino atmosphere and playing Blackjack. He was lucky because he was familiar with his former colleagues at the casino; among them was one, Shelly Wilson, whom he grew very fond of. Zeljko’s regular appearances at the casino gave him an upper hand in playing Blackjack like a pro and becoming the master of his time while making a fortune from the game. Unfortunately, his frequent visits to the Wrest Point Casino were not welcome anymore. Eventually the casino barred him.
Zeljko did not stop there; he was still enthusiastic about playing Blackjack and making a fortune. He went out to play in other casinos around Sidney, Australia. The one he notably frequented was Queensland Jupiter Casino. He had become a master. He was making a lot of money in the process. Still, eventually all the casinos in Australia banned him.
Again, he did not give up on his blackjack career; he decided to make trips to Las Vegas, Nevada, to try out his card skills. At this point in time, he had teamed up with three of his friends from college, and they made a lot of money playing Blackjack together in the United States. He was a master at every Blackjack game he played; even in Las Vegas, he still made a lot of money. An unfortunate turn of events occurred when the team was involved in an accident that claimed the life of one of them. In their grief, the group decided to split up.
Zeljko says goodbye to his Blackjack career
After the split, Zeljko Ranogajec went back to playing solo long before he got banned from the Las Vegas casinos. He was making way too much money from playing Blackjack that all the attention was shifted to him. So, he decided to return to Australia, but with the ton of cash he had, it took work to cross the border with suitcases stuffed with cash. He did not want to draw any attention to himself and become questionable, especially at the airports. Zeljko decided to quit Blackjack. At this time, his relationship with Shelly Wilson had flourished, and he wanted to settle down and build a family.
Zeljko ranogajec engages in other forms of gambling
Once a gambler, always a gambler, so they say, after quitting Blackjack, Zeljko tried other casino gambling sources to make money because by now he had a family to support. He decided to go back to the Australian casinos to play games other than Blackjack. After trying out all the games at the table and slots, Zeljko discovered that his favorite was Keno.
In a funnier twist of events, Zeljko set a record for winning the World’s Largest Keno Jackpot worth $7.5 million in 1994. This was after he had spent $ 1 million a day for one week to place his wagers. So, the 7.5 million dollars lucky jackpot was equal to what he spent throughout that week.
Afterward, almost every casino in Australia became fully aware of his capability to make a fortune in their facilities even without playing Blackjack. Consequently, his face was no longer welcome in any casino in Australia. This was a closing scene for his casino appearances. He decided to try out online casinos and horse race betting.
Horserace betting: newly found passion
Zeljko grew fond and very passionate about horseracing. He even devised a betting system that allowed him to successfully bet on the races. The elements of the betting system have yet to be revealed to the public. Still, the technique involves a tremendous amount of money on minimal margins and developing a comprehensive understanding of how to chase liquidity.
Zeljko’s strategies in race betting have been proven profitable over the years because he brings in over $1 billion on average per annum. He has been successful in most of his bets, despite several instances when he made poor judgments and lost the stakes. This is because he put faith in the racer rather than himself, as in the case of Blackjack.
An excellent example: one of his favorite races to bet on was the Melbourne Cup. In 2005, Zeljko placed a bet against Makybe, who was projected to win the Melbourne Cup. Unfortunately, Makybe won the race, and Zeljko lost tens of millions of dollars in a matter of seconds.
The Zeljko Ranogajec of today
The 2011 Blackjack Hall of fame champion has left a legacy that is not easy to follow. Recently, you can hardly catch sight of Zeljko because he prefers to lie low and keep his life private. He stopped showing up at casinos, but the news is that he is a regular charity donator. One of the charities is the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, a medical equipment provider to most children’s hospitals. Zeljko and Shelly own a beach house in Sydney, Australia, and a mansion in Mosman. The former king of Blackjack has also invested in Colossus Bets, his own online betting site in the UK. Zeljko has also worked with Newfield limited.
It is not very easy to find information about Zeljko anymore in Australia. Rumors have it that he changed his name to John Wilson to avoid any form of recognition in Australia. In the end, Zeljko has made a great fortune for himself and settled down with the love of his life, Shelly Wilson, and together they are enjoying the best of their years.