What began as a passionate interest in gambling has led Sam Vaughn into a career as one of the strongest tournament players known in the entire gambling world, and in the Blackjack world overall.
While working as a full time member of the United States Postal Service, Vaughn took every opportunity he had to travel to Nevada and test and improve his gambling skills. After logging on over three hundred thousand miles in his van, which would also serve as his home during his seventeen years of road trips, Vaughn found tremendous success with his first blackjack tournament.
It was 1989 and casinos had recently stopped hosting the craps tournaments that were Vaughn’s then-specialty. He tried his hand at Blackjack competition in The Four Queens and walked away the champion of his first-ever Blackjack tournament, and fifty thousand dollars wealthier.
By the time he retired in 1992 he was ready to re-locate permanently to Las Vegas. From that time on he has competed successfully in over one hundred tournaments. From his first win in 1989 to the end of his season in 2000, Vaughn had earned a staggering one and a quarter million dollars. All in the game that was his “second choice”!
Over the course of the next few years Vaughn kept on building his reputation and professional skills, and in 2003 he was able to compete in the Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. Though he did not prevail in his effort for the million dollar top prize, he had experienced the ultimate level of competition and was prepared for his next shot at the prize.
That came in 2004 after he had won the Reno-Atlantis “Winner Take All” tournament, and later in the same week qualified for the Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament by winning that qualifying event as well. His profit for the single week of play was a whopping sixty-five thousand dollars.
Later that year Vaughn took home the million dollar prize for the Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament III, beating the dealer with his 18 to the dealer’s 17.
Today Vaughn is still active in tournament Blackjack and he encourages all interested players to commit themselves to developing their skills and experience by becoming involved in any kind of tournament play available to them. There are numerous opportunities throughout the world for gamblers to enjoy mini-tournaments, regional tournaments and events sponsored by companies or local charities. He also recommends that players stay and watch even after being eliminated from competitive play.
Vaughn also credits his own success to open discussion with other dedicated players. He says that many Blackjack and gambling enthusiasts are happy to discuss strategy and tactics with other competitive players. Vaughn’s own experience proves that a great deal of time and commitment is required for the biggest payouts.
Today, Vaughn has settled into the tiny community that welcomed him, in his van, throughout the seventeen years he commuted between Phoenix and Las Vegas to work his way up to a professional, or championship level player.