A Profile of Ken Einiger
Ken Einiger, who was crowned the Blackjack World Champion in 2005, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960. At the age of ten, Ken and his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he lived for the next 33 years. During that time, he owned and operated numerous companies, began playing blackjack, including tournaments, and met his future wife, Kimberly.
Ken Einiger and Blackjack Tournaments
In December of 1991, Ken took fifth place in the Riviera Casino’s blackjack tournament and followed it up with an impressive first place finish in the Mandalay Bay blackjack tourney in 2001. But as promising as these wins were, they were just the beginning.
Ken continued to hone his skills, always looking for ways to become a better player. In 2003, Ken, his wife Kimberly, and two Golden Retrievers (Nikki & Ali) made the move to Las Vegas. Living in the gaming capitol of America enabled Ken to pursue his dream of being a full-time gambler. It was a move which would pay huge dividends in the coming years.
In 2004, being able to play on a consistent basis really paid off. In that year alone, Ken made it to the final table in five of the seven biggest blackjack tournaments in the country, racking up wins of nearly $500,000 in a 12-month span In June of 2004, he won the Treasure Island tournament. That was followed by a second place finish at the Mirage in October and another second place finish at the Bellagio in early November. In 2004-05, Ken Einiger had the best run in tournament blackjack to date. Ken went to the finals seven times, ultimately winning four of them.
The World Series of Blackjack
And no win was more impressive than the one at the Golden Nugget to determine the 2005 Blackjack World Champion. The World Series of Blackjack is an annual invitational tournament featuring 40 of the world’s best amateur and professional players competing for $500,000 in total prize money, including a grand prize of $250,000. The 2005 tournament was taped at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas in November, 2004, and the 13 episode series aired from January to April of 2005 on the GSN network.
The final hand in the championship round found Ken squaring off against Rick Jensen, Stanford Wong, and Kami Lis. While the finals consisted of 28 grueling hands, the tournament outcome wasn’t decided until the very last hand. Ken bet the maximum of $50,000 and was dealt an ace and an eight. Kami (his closest competitor) had a hard 14 and the dealer showed a 5. Ken’s only reasonable chance to win required him to double down and hope that Kami would also double down and then bust. Instead, Kami decided to stand, meaning all that was needed for an Einiger victory would be for the dealer to have a big card in the hole and then draw another big card and bust. The dealer flipped over a 9 for a total of 14, then took another hit and drew a 10. The dealer busted with 24, allowing Ken to win by a margin of only $9,000.
Since winning the World Series of Blackjack, Ken has released a book entitled Play to Win. In it, he introduces the reader to the exciting world of blackjack tournaments, explaining how to find them, evaluate profit potential, navigate the registration process, and even improve their chance of getting on TV.
He is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Be In Action. He also travels around the country giving blackjack seminars and private lessons.
In his 15 years of playing blackjack, Ken has won six major tournaments and appeared at the final table over 20 times.
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