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“How Philip Reed managed to write a book about life, death, faith, family, and infinity while at the same time learning to count cards and beat the casinos, I’ll never know. But he did, and it’s magnificent.”

-Martin J. Smith, author of The Wild Duck Chase, Oops, and Poplorica, as well as five novels, including Combustion

About the Authors

Philip Reed, the author of Wild Cards, available on Amazon, takes complicated subjects and makes then entertaining. He has published two hit sports books and three novels. He is a former police reporter in Chicago and Denver, and later as an automotive and sports writer in Los Angeles. He has written and produced several plays, which have been staged in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.

Ace Card Counter 2a

Note: The names of the professional blackjack player featured in Ace Card Counter has been changed to protect the player’s identity. 

Bill Palis, the player featured in Wild Cards, was born in South America and moved to the United States in the early 60’s. He graduated from a Midwestern university with a degree in elementary education and began his career as teacher. After getting laid off during the recession of the 1970s, he opened his own investments and insurance agency. In the mid-80s a friend suggested they visit a nearby casino that had recently opened. He lost a few hundred dollars but discovered a passion for blackjack. For several months he studied and practiced card counting and, when he returned to the casino, he won $750. Soon, he was winning $1,000 a week. “They might as well have just written me a check and left it at the front desk,” he recalls. As his reputation grew, he was recruited by the legendary MIT blackjack team. He joined the team as a counter, later became a “big player,” and eventually began recruiting and training new members for the team. He also contributed to the MIT manual Blackjack Winning Strategy. In 2005, card counter and casino expert Max Rubin named him the third best blackjack player in the world. He has taught many people to count cards and his students say the skills they have learned are more valuable than a four-year college degree. This book represents some his experiences and knowledge of this great game.


Blackjack book, Card Counting, Gambling