Zeljko Ranogajec – Blackjack Card Counter


Zeljko Ranogajec is also known as John Wilson. Born on the 22nd May 1961 in Hobart, Australia to a family of Croatian immigrants. Zeljko is a businessman as well as a professional gambler but before that, he studied Commerce and Law at the University of Tasmania. It was here that he started card counting in Blackjack at the Wrest Point Casino.

It was during this time he met his wife and business partner, Shelley Wilson, who was at that time a full-time employee at the Casino. He eventually relocated to NSW and transferred his studies to the University of NSW but finally dropped out to concentrate on advantage gambling.

Zeljko then started making frequent trips to Vegas trying his card counting talents out there. However, he encountered problems transporting his money back to Australia. Hence, he started hiding it in strange places so as not to draw attention to himself or be seen to be a drug dealer. Towards the end of his Blackjack career, Zeljko formed a card-counting team with three of his friends from college, one of them being David Walsh.

This was brought to an end as they were starting to make money when one of the trios died in a car accident. Due to the grief, the team split up, and he was back to playing solo.

Like most fairytales, there was a happy ending. He married Shelley Wilson, the love of his life and gave up his Blackjack career. Although he had a nice bank balance, he would need to find another source of income to support his family, and that’s where he went into other forms of gambling.

His Australian Gambling Career:

Zeljko Ranogajec Blackjack Card Counter

The professional Blackjack fraternity deemed Zeljko to be “one of the most prolific and innovative advantage players of all time.” He started his bankroll with a few hundred dollars through which he won millions. He was eventually banned from most casinos in Australia, beginning with Wrest Point then Jupiter’s Casino. When he moved to the US, he also got banned from specific casinos. However, he had already started moving onto other areas of advantage play where he identified loopholes.

He got inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2011.


Due to him being famous for being a Blackjack player he figured if he changed the game he played, he could still frequent most Australian Casinos. He endeavoured to play almost every other table and slot game available discovering Keno was his new favourite outside of Blackjack. Playing Keno, he set the record for winning the world’s largest Keno Jackpot of $7.5 million. It would have been impressive if his wagers didn’t cost him the same amount. He played it for a week’s straight betting an average of a $1 million every day. He did, however, walk away slightly richer due to his smaller wins during his week-long gameplay.

This win put the spotlight on Zeljko, and soon all the Australian Casinos knew he was capable of making his money on any game he played at their facilities. He then became a recluse and has seldom been seen in the past 20 years.

Zeljko and Horse Racing:

As the years passed, Zeljko Ranogajec became passionate about Australian Horse Racing and developed his own sophisticated betting system that allowed him to become very successful.

His favourite event to bet on is the Melbourne Cup, but he does find time to place wagers on all the thoroughbred races in Australia. His strategies have proven to be more than profitable, and he brings in over 1 Billion dollars on average per annum.

Zeljko Ranogajec Today:

This man is remarkable in so many ways, and millions of his winnings get donated to various charities. One of the foundations he gives to regularly is The Humpty Dumpty Foundation. This Foundation purchase essential medical equipment for children’s hospitals who are struggling financially.

Shelley and Zeljko have two homes, one in Balmoral Beach in Sydney and another in Mossman Australia. The neighbours claim they have never seen Zeljko in person and some have not even heard of him, and that’s possible because he goes by the pseudonym, John Wilson.

He is often referred to as “The Loch Ness Monster” because he never gets seen anymore. Let’s be honest this mysterious recluse is a marvel in the gambling world as there is nothing he hasn’t tried and succeeded at winning some nice sums of money.

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