There are thousands of self-proclaimed professional blackjack players out there, and thanks to the internet, even more authors of periodical gambling columns, but very few of them will ever the earn the label, ‘Legend’. Stanley Sludikoff was one of them.
|Today, we say a fond farewell to Stanley; a dedicated serviceman, professional blackjack player, author and publisher of two of the most renowned gaming magazines ever to go to print.Stanley Sludikoff – a.k.a. ‘Stanley Roberts’ for those who read any of his multiple best-selling blackjack books – spent years battling a terminal disease, Leukemia. He passed away on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the age of 80, survived by his wife of 44 years, Ann Paula Blumberg Sludikoff, and three daughters, Lisa, Jaime and Bonnie.
Born July 17, 1935 in The Bronx, New York, Stanley showed signs of intellectual greatness from an early age. After finishing high school, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute in 1957, then graduated from the University of Southern California in 1962.
From there, the sky was the limit for Sludikoff. He was a man of many talents, and excelled at all he endeavored to accomplish. Each time he got restless, feeling he could be accomplishing more and serving the greater good in a better way, he moved on to something else.
Because of this, Stanley held a multitude of positions throughout his life. In a brief autobiography, Stanley Sludikoff once wrote that he’s worked as an “architect, city planner, real estate broker, property manager, professional blackjack player, author, columnist, publisher, salesman”, and that doesn’t even include the multitude of businesses he’s owned over the last 45+ years.
Sludikoff is most famous for his gambling information works. In 1977, he published the first successful gaming magazine, “Gambling Times”, which later went on to become “Win” magazine. In 1982, he published the world’s first poker periodical, “Poker Player”. Before that, he authored a number of blackjack books that went on to become best-sellers, including “Winning Blackjack”, “The Beginners Guide to Winning Blackjack”, and “The Gambling Times Guide to Blackjack”.
Prior to authoring those books, he was an extremely successful professional blackjack player. Sludikoff was counting cards and making grandiose profit at the casinos long before students with the MIT Blackjack Team, or the movie “21”, glorified the concept.
However, Sludikoff’s idea of earning money was to produce a product that was “worth more than the price” people paid for it, thus winning money at blackjack didn’t fulfill his passion to create for the greater good. He gave up playing and decided to author blackjack books instead, earning millions of dollars while contributing back to the gambling community at large.
Stanley didn’t actually start playing poker until 1985, when he ended up winning in his very first attempt; the Press Tournament at the 1985 WSOP. But again, despite loving the game, he felt “no joy in taking anyone’s money without giving something back in return”, therefore he only played recreationally, never going on to become the world class poker player he surely could have been.
Sludikoff was also celebrated for inventing new casino games, as well as new variations of old ones. He was responsible for creating the Daily Digit lottery; the first new lottery game in over 400 years at the time. He also devised the casino game “Straight Out”.
Throughout all this time, he spent 30 years serving in the United States Army Reserves, where he rose from Corporal to Lieutenant Colonel before retiring from the military with a Distinguished Service Medal. He is also an esteemed inductee to the WCP’s Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.
Stanley Sludikoff, on behalf of the entire gambling community, we salute you and are honored to have been graced by the fruits of your labor. My sincerest condolences go out to the Sludikoff family. You will be missed.