David Stann, the man who would later be dubbed "The Undisputed Bad Boy of Blackjack" and come to be known for his good looks and colorful behavior, started life in the anything-but-colorful city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Born on November 12th (Stann doesn't disclose his birth year), Dave's parents were young (17), Catholic, and highly intelligent. Throughout the early stages of his life, his parents wanted their son to have both an open and expanded mind, and it was not unusual to see the young Dave accompanying his parents to their monthly Mensa meetings.
As he entered high school, it was obvious that the teachings of his parents had not been wasted on Dave. Besides being a member of Mensa, he was also the president of the Speech and Debate clubs. Dave has been quoted as saying that he quickly realized he would never be the tough jock or the gangster, so he became the artistic goth kid who landed all the crazy and interesting girls.
But his primary passion was the theater, an area which Dave pursued with gusto during his college years. He attended Kent State University and quickly developed a love for experimental and fringe theater, even creating a stage version of John Waters' controversial Pink Flamingos. His senior thesis was entitled 'Directing Postmodern Ibsen' which was a loose adaptation of the play An Enemy of the People, complete with a booming techno soundtrack, modern dance numbers, and non-linear staging.
Soon after, Dave graduated with a bachelor's degree in theater and was ready to pursue acting in the greater Cleveland area. He signed with the prestigious Ford Agency and found himself starring in dozens of local films and commercials. But like most young actors, Dave found that the allure of Hollywood was too strong, and so he packed his bags and moved out to Los Angeles.
Between acting gigs, Dave waited tables and worked at various other mundane jobs. Growing tired of the daily grind, he began looking for a source of income that would both pay the bills and allow for a more flexible schedule. It was at this point that gambling entered his life and "Hollywood Dave" was born.
He quickly developed a talent for counting cards and found that gambling also allowed him to express his theatrical side. Many casinos weren't as thrilled by his talents, and Dave found himself ejected and barred from many of the big-name establishments. Not being one to give up, he continued to play and soon found himself in the televised 2004 World Series of Blackjack.
His talent for performing served him well, and he quickly became the newest star of the blackjack world. And even though he ultimately placed second in the tournament, he found himself with a growing legion of fans and an unexpected interest from the Game Show Network.
His roles in the GSN produced Celebrity Blackjack and World Series of Blackjack further cemented his status as the most recognizable (and colorful) blackjack player in the world, but being outed as a card counter on national television severely limited his opportunities in Vegas. And despite being synonymous with blackjack, these days he almost exclusively plays in No Limit Texas Hold'em Tournaments.
He has played himself in:
He did this while also performing dramatic roles in:
Stann has also started a production company called "boygirl productions," which focuses on experimental theater and film.
He is working on a book entitled Hollywood Blackjack, which is, according to Stann, "stories of card counting and me getting drunk."
And his ideal celebrity blackjack table? Johnny Depp, Drew Barrymore, 50 Cent, Jon Stewart, and Christopher Walken.....with Shannon Elizabeth under the table.
Hollywood Dave has his own website now - Hollywood Dave Stann.
More Blackjack Players: Stanford Wong - Hollywood Dave Stann - Sam Vaughn - Edward Thorp - Cathy Hulbert - Michael Konik - Keith Taft - Anthony Curtis - Peter Griffin - Ken Uston - Richard Munchkin - Ken Einiger - Tommy Hyland - Al Francesco - Eleanore Dumont - Ken Smith - Lawrence Revere - Steve Forte - Barry Meadow - Brian Zembic - Big Chuck Gorson - Erica Schoenberg - James Grosjean - Max Rubin - Henry Tamburin - Russ Hamilton - Jimmy Pine - Joanna Wlodawer - Joe Pane - Kevin Blackwood - Blackjack Hall of Fame - MIT Blackjack Team