Larry Evans, renowned grandmaster of both blackjack and chess games, died in a Nevada hospital.

Larry Evans was a rare individual who mastered both blackjack strategy and chess strategy. As uncommon as this combination of gaming skills may seem, the two aren’t entirely unrelated.

Even at the height of Evan’s career as a Chess Grandmaster and prolific author, Evans would joke about how little money was to be had even for the very most excellent chess players. Thus, in 1968, before card counting became fashionable, Larry Evans used his refined memory to make a few extra dollars at Reno casinos.

More-so than with chess openings, the correct “moves” in blackjack can be memorized as only a limited number of hands are possible before the player exceeds 21, going bust. Moreover, by keeping track of how many “ten cards” remain in the deck, a player can realize when to raise his bets.

Few obstacles held Evans back as a chess player and he won or shared both the U.S. Open Chess Championship and the U.S. Chess Championship nearly half a dozen times each, ultimately becoming International Grandmaster and the U.S. State Department’s “chess ambassador”.

Unfortunately, Evans was not allowed to enjoy similar success playing blackjack card games. Blackjack, being perhaps the only game where players can’t maintain a career once they have achieved fame, Evans was banned from all the large casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

On 15 November 2010 at a hospital in Reno, Nevada, Larry Evans died from complications related to his gallbladder surgery.