According to Michael Castellana himself he is the best card counter in the world. This might very well be so as he has been banned from at least six casinos around the world. He is a professional blackjack player and he was seen in 2006 on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour that was televised by CBS.
The CBS Ultimate Blackjack Tour is a series of elimination blackjack tournaments. The first show was aired on September 16, 2006 and Michael Castellana participated in this very first episode. Each week one tournament was completed and the winner would return for a final tournament of the champions. The series was special in that it not only featured professional blackjack players but it was also produced by blackjack savvies. The show was very popular and was re-broadcasted in the beginning of 2007 on Superstation WGN. A second season is scheduled to be aired on CBS and if we will see Castellana in it is not certain.
Castellana participated in two finals but he didn't win any of them. This doesn't mean that he didn't do well. It only attests to the high level of the competition. In the beginning he was doing quite well. After the first hand he was in first place with an impressing $106,000. By hand 8 "Big" Chuck Gorson was eliminated and Castellana was still in the lead but his winnings had gone down to $102,000. When hand 15 comes around Castellana goes in with $62,000 and he gets a 12. He feared that another hit might bring in a 10 and bust him therefore he decided to stay. When the dealer busts Michael Castellana is in the lead with $124,000.
Castellana does well and he stays in the lead for quite some time it is only when his opponent Dave Stann ends up on a 19 that he is eliminated by virtue of chip count. This left him with a third place which is well done considering the competition and the pressure of being recorded so that millions of people could see him. In the 4th final Castellana met "Big" Gorson again. This time Gorson does better and while Castellana is the third to be eliminated he stays in the game. Gorson almost made it but was ultimately defeated by the first woman to win the Ultimate Blackjack Tour – Monica Reeves.
Given the bold statement said to have been uttered by Castellana himself regarding his status as the world's greatest card counter, one would expect to find lots of news about him. The fact is that if you make a quick Google on him you won't come up with much more than his appearance on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour. Perhaps Michael Castellana was a bit quick to speak or perhaps he is about to prove his greatness and deliver some more action in the future. Looking at the play he did deliver on the tour he could be considered a player of high class and as such should be expected to be seen again. Whatever it will be only time will tell.