Cathy Hulbert’s claim to fame is being one of the first women professional blackjack players. She has won several accolades in her professional career and encourages women to take up gambling as a career.
After graduating, Hulbert worked for the New York State Senate. She had a fortuitous promotion to the press office but soon realised that this was not what she wanted from life. She had acquired skills in card games during her college years and knew that her future lay in professional gambling. Two weeks after quitting her job Hulbert arrived in Las Vegas with all she owned and was able to get a job as a blackjack dealer. Then followed the famous encounter with Ken Uston, which changed her life. Uston was a member of the card counting team known as The Czechs. Hulbert soon learnt the art of card counting and joined this team. Through the 1960s and 1970s she toured the world blackjack circuit as a member of The Czechs, figuratively minting money. This adventurous life style led to several arrests and even more expulsions from casinos. In order to hoodwink casino managements she even posed as a man, donning a wig and false beard for that purpose
After blackjack Hulbert took up playing slot machines professionally. She engaged a group of octogenarians to pull the handles of the machines when she reckoned that the progressive jackpots were about to yield. Slots is one of the least profitable forms of gambling but through sheer hard work Hulbert made it pay.
Having conquered blackjack and slots, Hulbert moved on to poker. She had been in the doldrums for three years when in 1986 she met David Heyden and Rick Greider who were then recognised as the best players in that game. She teamed up with them and learnt from them. Hulbert claimed that being a woman was an advantage as she found it easy to read and manipulate men. She is still active on the competitive poker circuit.
Today Hulbert is more involved with popularising card gambling such as blackjack and poker, especially among women. She runs a popular website offering, news articles and tutorials on poker. The Game Show Network has named her as the best female gambler on earth. In 1996, Card Player magazine has included her in the list of the world’s best seven-card stud poker players. She was the only woman in that list. Travel Channel broadcasted a special episode on the gambling at Las Vegas in which she revealed some of tricks she had used to beat the casinos. Richard Munchkin has included her in his book Gambling Wizards. Her own book aptly titled Outplaying the Boys: Poker Tips for Competitive Women is extremely popular. Cathy Hulbert, affectionately known as “Cat”, today lives in California. She can be seen playing Hold ‘Em at the Hollywood Casino at $40 and $80 stakes. In her spare time she writes fiction, which perhaps is less strange than her truth.