Zeljko Ranogajec, originally from Australia, began his career as an amateur card counting. As a consequence of all of his gambling ventures, he finally amassed a fortune that was in the multi-billion dollar range. In spite of the fact that blackjack was the game that first piqued his attention, the fact that he was banned from practically all of the casinos in Australia forced him to hunt for other ways to make money.
Later on, he would learn about horse racing, and ultimately he would become one of the most successful bettors in the history of thoroughbred horse racing. However, none of his achievements were without their share of challenges along the way.
Continue reading this detailed biography of Zelko Ranogajec if you are interested in learning more about the highlights and low points of his life.
Raised with Few Resources
In 1961, Zeljko was born to Croatian immigrant parents who were living in poverty in Hobart, Australia. Because he did not have too much when he was a child, he was able to devote a significant portion of his leisure time to learning. He was well aware that in order to be successful in this life, he would need to be prepared to put in a significant amount of effort over a long period of time. He was fortunate in that all of the time and effort that he put into his schoolwork paid off, and he was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Tasmania.
He pursued a degree in Financial Banking with the intention of later working in the legal profession. After that, he changed schools and enrolled at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, which just so happened to be situated in close proximity to a number of upscale casinos. He worked at the Wrest Point Casino on the side so that he could bring in some more income for personal expenses.
Growing an Interest in the Game of Blackjack
He was a huge fan of the ambiance of the casino, and he had a terrific time spending time there. It wasn’t long before he began using his lunch breaks to participate in some of the games that were available at that location. In particular, he was attracted to the game of blackjack because he had heard there were certain strategies that, if used correctly, could nearly ensure a victory for the player.
Zeljko spent a significant amount of time studying the ins and outs of a variety of card counting tactics before putting each one to the test at the tables. Card counting came easily to him since he was very good with numbers and had a strong mathematical background. It wasn’t long before he began to earn more money from playing blackjack than he did from his regular job. This was a significant change for him. The more money he made at the tables, the less time he spent on his schoolwork, and the less reasons he had to get up in the morning and go to work. In the end, he decided not to continue his education and left his position at the casino.
He was familiar with several of the personnel at the Wrest Point Casino, the playing circumstances made counting cards quite simple, and he developed a crush on one of the casino’s full-time employees named Shelley Wilson. He enjoyed playing at the Wrest Point Casino very much. However, he made the error of playing there an excessive number of times, and once he won a sizeable sum of money, it was inevitable that he would be banned from the establishment.
He was coerced into beginning his gambling career at the Jupiter Casino in Queensland as well as at other casinos in the region, and he was finally banned from each and every one of them. In spite of this significant obstacle, Zeljko was filled with joy. He had been trying to get up the nerve to ask Shelley out for a long time, and now the two of them were in a committed relationship.
In spite of the fact that Zelko’s first priority was to be with Shelley as much as possible, he made regular travels to Las Vegas so that he could test his skills as a card counter in real-world settings. In the latter stages of his career as a blackjack player, Zeljko put together a card counting crew, which included three of his close buddies from college. Unfortunately, we are only aware of one of the members, David Walsh, who will be discussed in further detail later on; the identities of the other members are unknown to us. They had just started to turn a profit when a horrible vehicle accident took the life of one of the team members just as they were beginning to get ahead financially. The group reached a consensus that the best course of action was to disband and pursue their own goals.