Max Rubin has been playing blackjack and other games professionally for four decades. He also works freelance as a gaming consultant and has been featured as a television analyst on several different programs about blackjack and gambling in Las Vegas. Max holds a degree from UNLV’s College of Hotel Administration.
Career as a Consultant
Max has acted as a gaming consultant for a number of American casinos, including Harrah’s, Hilton Casinos, Mirage Resorts, and various tribal operations around the USA. Working with Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino San Diego, which houses the Blackjack
Hall of Fame itself, he has tried to persuade casinos to take a hands-off approach to card counters. The Barona is famously one of the few West Coast casinos that doesn’t restrict the practice of counting cards. At the Barona, Max helps train dealers and other casino staff to recognize players that may have an advantage and how to work with these types of gamblers rather than against them.
Max’s theory is that the majority of people who are counting cards are probably not doing it right or following basic strategy, meaning the house still wins in the long run. This pro-counting policy is attractive to casinos that don’t want to be accused of chasing away their customers or run the risk of missing out on profits if they ask a suspected counter to leave.
Blackjack Hall of Fame
Mr. Rubin is also one of eight Blackjack Hall of Fame members still alive. His plaque at the Hall of Fame sums up his career nicely: “A former casino executive and professional blackjack player, Max wrote Comp City, which bared long-held casino comp secrets and showed non-professional players how to play with an advantage.”
As a voting member of the Hall of Fame, Rubin is among a select few blackjack players that decides who deserves entry into the Hall every year. He also serves as the annual host of the Blackjack Ball, an invitation-only event where the world’s best blackjack players meet to compete for the Blackjack Cup among other contests. Each year, Rubin hands out the title “The World’s Greatest Gambler” to one of the attendees.
The Blackjack Ball is one of the many quirky but fascinating aspects of the world of professional blackjack players. Even if you get an invitation, Max requires that you bring a bottle of “chilled premium champagne” to get past the security at the door. Max has been hosting this party / competition in his own home for over a decade – each year he has 75 of the best 21 players in the world over to drink fine champagne and compete for the coveted trophy.
Writing about Gambling
Max Rubin’s Comp City – A Guide to Free Gambling Vacations is a popular title featuring instructions on how to take advantage of freebies and comps at casinos. The book teaches players to use offers of free food, drinks, hotel rooms, and other perks to reduce the cost of gambling.
The advice in Comp City specifically aimed at blackjack players is meant to teach a gambler how to trick the casino into thinking they’re betting more than they really are. In one section of the book, the author suggests that more advanced players could combine his free gambling guide tips with basic card counting techniques to really take advantage of the house.
But Rubin’s writing on blackjack and gambling isn’t limited to this one book – his byline is common in industry magazines and blogs and you can often find him on the speaker circuit at gambling industry conventions.
Rubin’s face may be familiar – he has appeared on a number of TV shows, either as a commentator or a show’s host. He was profiled by CBS’ 48 Hours, co-hosted The Travel Channel’s show Sucker Bets (a battle of math-based strategy versus pure luck), appeared on numerous History Channel shows about Las Vegas, and was the resident color commentator and gambling expert for CBS’ The Ultimate Blackjack Tour. For more details on the ins and outs of his career on TV, check out his website.