Bill Zender is a former casino executive turned professional blackjack player. He started playing the game of blackjack when he was nine. He played for pennies with kids in his neighborhood and as a teenager would sneak into casinos and play 50 cent tables. From a very young age he knew that gambling would be an important part of his life.
When he was younger, he worked as a blackjack dealer and learned about card counting and basic strategy from his co-workers. As he worked his way up through the ranks from dealer to casino manager at the Aladdin Casino, he became more and more interested in learning about the different forms of cheating as no one in the gaming industry seemed to know about it. He learned about the different methods of card counting and as he did he became proficient in them himself.
What makes Zender unique is that he sees things from both sides of the equation. He has worked on the side of the casino, as well as on the side of the card counting player. He has written a number of books on casino cheating and teaches players to count cards while teaching casinos how to recognize card counters and catch cheaters.
Zender left his job at Aladdin to become a professional blackjack player. Throughout his career he has used a variety of card counting systems. He started out with the Hi/Lo system, one of the simpler card counting systems that is most recommended for beginners. He then moved on to use Lance Humble‘s Hi-Opt I and II counts until he settled on using Snyder’s Zen count. However, in recent years he has gone back to the Hi/Lo system.
Zender stands by the idea that different counts work for different people. While he likes the Hi/Lo system he may teach another player to count using the Knock Out System, Red Seven count or another card counting system.
After playing blackjack professionally for a number of years, Zender has now moved on to playing Pai Gow professionally. However, he is still recognized as one of the best blackjack teachers and authors on blackjack cheating of all time.