Al Francesco is a Blackjack Master.

Al Francesco, also known as Frank Fisano, Frank Salerno, and Frank Schipani, has left an enormous imprint on the world of baccarat. Not only did Francesco establish one of the first profitable blackjack teams, but he also devised several effective strategies that blackjack players still employ, such as the “Big Player Concept” and “The Drop.” He was renowned as a legendary instructor, equipping blackjack professionals like Ken Uston with the skills necessary for professional success.

Al Francesco was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2002 for his extraordinary skill and audacious maneuvers. Despite the fact that it has been decades since Francesco played blackjack professionally, he has left an indelible mark on the game. To learn more about Al Francesco’s life and career, please continue reading this detailed biography.

How to Become a Professional Blackjack Player Using Thorp’s Book

The majority of Francesco’s adolescence was spent in Gary, Indiana during the 1940s and 1950s. Early on, he was intrigued by card games; he would play rummy and other card games against his peers for a few cents a game.
As he grew older, he became more serious about wagering, contending in Greek Rummy tournaments and bringing home an average of $5,000 per year.

Francesco moved to California in his early twenties in hopes of earning a more stable and profitable income. This is when he discovered the legendary book Beat the Dealer by Edward Thorp.
Francesco’s reading of this book was undeniably a turning point in his career, as he was inspired to obtain an advantage over the casino that would enable him to win more consistently. The 10-Count Strategy was one of the primary techniques he learned from Beat the Dealer.
As it involved numerous mathematical equations and card counting techniques, it took him over five weeks of trial and error to fully master.

In an interview with Gambling Wizards, Francesco reflected on his earliest card counting experiences. “The first time I tallied cards, I developed a headache within twenty minutes. It was a very difficult system. I believed I was prepared, but I was not. I went home to study further, and when I returned, I was prepared to compete with any dealer.

Francesco’s initial wagering ranged between $5 and $25, but as he became more adept at card counting, he increased his wagers. Before he realized it, he was no longer placing wagers under $200. He played all day, every day, and never felt the need to take a respite. He spent the majority of his time gambling in Reno and Tahoe casinos, as he felt most at ease there.

As a result of Francesco’s undeniable success, casinos began banning him left and right, as no one wanted to host a consistent victor. Eventually, he grew weary of attempting to persuade casinos to let him participate, and he was compelled to take a temporary eight-year retirement.

Early Realization that Casinos Cheat

Little is known about Francesco’s activities during these years, but it is known that he had ample time to reflect on his past endeavors. By doing so, he discovered that a growing number of dealers were routinely cheating participants.