Law: Blackjack Buckaroo

Kenneth Uston, 47, is an American success story: Phi Beta Kappa in economics at Yale, Harvard M.B.A., a former senior vice president of the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco, who in 1975 quit his $50,000 job to follow an offbeat, not to say raffish, entrepreneurial dream—and made it work.

In 1968 Uston read Beat the Dealer, a 1962 book by Mathematician Edward Thorp, the "father" of card counting. Uston, a statistics, mathematics and computer buff, was fascinated, and while still serving as a pillar of the West Coast financial establishment, began imagining...

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