Archie Karas, Kerry Packer, and Titanic Thompson. These are but a few names from a list of world-famous professional gamblers. The occupational incidences tend to move in toward the limelight. Almost all elite casino players love the attention—but not Zeljko Ranogajec. The billionaire blackjack and horse racing enthusiast has escaped the public eye longer than any professional casino gambler.
Proclaimed by many as a casino genius, Ranogajec has gone so far as becoming a legend in the industry. However, one begs the question, how has this billionaire casino prodigy remained unseen for years? How has he impacted and changed the future of gambling?
Let’s look at how he did it.
Who is Zeljko Ranogajec?
Ranogajec was born in 1961 in Hobart, Australia. His parents moved from Croatia to Australia due to impoverished living. Early on, Zeljko Ranogajec was seen as a brilliant child. He received a scholarship studied at the University of Tasmania where he majored in banking, finances, and taxation. After college, he sought to become a lawyer but found his love for gambling exceeds his other ambitions.
Gambling proved to be fruitful for Ranogajec. He met his future wife while gambling and found fortune quickly. Because of this, he quit college and became a professional gambler.
Australian and Vegas Blackjack
Having great mathematical skills and exceptional gambling talent, Ranogajec entered the world of blackjack. Playing simple and plain was too easy for him; he started learning multiple counting strategies which improved his capabilities greatly. Casinos he frequented soon banned him when they learned that he counted cards. Word spread out and before he knew it, he was banned from playing blackjack nationwide.
His prohibition did not deter his love for blackjack. Forming a team, Ranogajec went to Las Vegas and had a blackjack spree. However, Vegas casinos also banned him and his team. He later decided to lie low on blackjack as the word of a great card counter is moving around.
Ranogajec was inducted in the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2011.
Professionally evicted from playing blackjack, Ranogajec looked for other forms of gambling. He found success in horse racing when he developed a method for successful horse race betting. His formula includes the following variables:
- Anticipating high liquidity betting opportunities
- Employing complex betting systems
- Betting on profitable margins—even small figures
- Getting rebate deals from industry leaders
Many consider his method a work of art from a mind of a genius. Having cracked the horse racing code, Ranogajec amassed almost immeasurable wealth from betting successfully and consecutively. His betting figures amount from billions and billions in horse racing all around the world.
While an expert in blackjack and horse racing, Ranogajec has also tried other forms of gambling. In 1994, he tried and won a whopping $7.4 million keno jackpot from the North Ryde RSL Club—the largest winnings of all time. In addition, he also tried lotteries and the stock market hoping to get an edge. However, his successes or failures in other ventures are shadowed by his multi-billion career as a professional blackjack and horse racing gambler.
With a life as lucrative as Ranogajec, it is a wonder how the casino gambler remains hidden from public scrutiny. He does this by employing “runners” who would place his bets in lieu of him. People may have heard his name but never his face. In fact, Ranogajec even manages to confuse people by using a different betting name, “John Wilson”. This way, spectators will not be able to know when, where, and how he plays. It is only later on when he made a public press release when the world was introduced to his genius antics.
Many publications exist today about Zeljko Ranogajec. However, to their authenticity, credibility, and candor, one can only speculate. Media has called him the Loch Ness Monster numerous times because he is rarely seen. Nonetheless, his contribution to the world of blackjack and horse racing is undisputed and will live on for centuries to come.