Zeljko Ranogajec

 Zeljko Ranogajec, aka John Wilson, comes from a family of Croatian immigrants. He was born in Hobart Australia on the 22 May 1961 and is a professional gambler and entrepreneur. Before becoming a professional gambler, Zeljko studied Commerce and Law at the University of Tasmania where his interest in card counting in Blackjack was tweaked when playing at the Wrest Point Casino.

He met his wife at the Casino as she worked there full time. He then decided to relocate to NSW and transferred his studies to the University of NSW. However, he dropped out to pursue his passion in advantage gambling.

Gambling Career

Zeljko started making frequent trips to Vegas and winning substantial amounts. However, he encountered problems getting his winnings back to Australia so hid it in strangeplaces. He eventually formed a card-counting team with three of his college friends. However, this came to an unfortunate end when one of the trios died in a motor vehicle accident. He was back to playing solo as the team then split up.

Amongst the Blackjack Fraternity Zeljko was regarded as one of the most prolific and innovative advantage players of all time. Eventually, the Australian Casinos banned him, but he had already anticipated that happening and had started branching out into other areas of advantage play. Namely Keno and Horse Racing where he has earned over a $1 Billion on average per annum.

Summing it Up

Zeljko Ranogajev is remarkable for so many reasons. He is one of the top gamblers worldwide. Still, more importantly, he donates millions of his winnings to a variety of different charities and one, in particular, is The Humpty Dumpty Foundation which purchases medical equipment for Children’s Hospitals.

Nowadays he is known as The Loch Ness Monster due to him being a reclusive person.


 21 is a 2008 American heist drama based on a true story about six MIT students who were experts in card counting at Blackjack. They subsequently took Vegas casinos for Millions of Dollars.

These six friends go on a secret trip to Las Vegas where they use their skills, code talk, hand signals and the probability of winning at various casinos leading them to earn substantial profits. The main character Ben, who initially only wanted to make enough to get into Harvard, becomes corrupted by greed.


Ben Campbell is a student at MIT in Boston who desperately wants a scholarship to transfer to Harvard’s School of Medicine but cannot afford it. One evening he is introduced into a small, secretive club by his unorthodox math professor who is learning to count cards. Ben joins the group as he sees it as a solution to fulfilling his dreams of getting into Harvard. Sadly once he makes enough to get into Harvard, he is not able to quit and morphs into his alter ego and does a complete 360.

His devotion to Blackjack causes him to lose focus in an engineering competition which estranges him from his friends which causes him to become distracted, resulting in making a significant loss at the tables on their next Las Vegas trip. It then highlights how friendships falter, deception and revenge take priority when money is involved. There is certainly no honour amongst thieves, be it at the tables in Vegas or holding up a bank.


21 is thematically relevant, particularly in today’s world of materialism and greed. It has a more significant impact than other films in this genre because the events of 21 are based on a true story. It is both engaging and entertaining and emphasizes the dangers of obsessive gambling and how it affects individuals and their lives.


Phil Ivey

 Introducing Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is a professional American poker player who was born on the 1st of February 1977. He is the acclaimed winner of ten World Series of Poker bracelets, one World Poker Tour title and has competed at nine World Poker Tour Final tables. He is one of the best all-round players in the world and is known as the “Tiger Woods” of Poker.

As of 2018 Ivey’s total live tournament winnings exceed $26 250 000 and over $6 600 000 of his total winnings have come from flows of cash at W.S.O.P. He is currently ranked seventh on the all-time money list.

Rise and Fall of Phil Ivey

In 2000 Ivey a then 23-year-old established himself as one of the top up and coming players and secured his first bracelet. In 2002 Ivey showcased his skills at limit poker and won massive amounts in Limit Seven Card Stud, Split Poker, Limit Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo and Limit S.H.O.E. He also made two final tables and got 23rd place in the W.S.O.P. main event. In that timespan, Ivey collected four bracelets and received more than $400 000 in prize money. He had a good run, and 2009 was an incredible year for him and by then had his eighth bracelet at the age of 33.

His career, however, took a turn for the worst a few years later when he became embroiled in a legal war with East Coast Casino Borgata. He rose again in 2018 and had a few decent runs and is currently ranked number eight in the Poker World.


Ivey has had a lousy decade between legal battles and a rather messy divorce, but he has a history of making history. If anyone can rise from the Ashes, Phil Ivey can as he is one of the foremost legends in Poker.