The Beginnings of Blackjack

[ English ]

The casino game of Blackjack was introduced to the US in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that a system was developed to defeat the casino in twenty-one. This article is going to take a swift peak at the development of that system, Card Counting.

When betting was approved in the state of Nevada in 1934, black jack screamed into universal appeal and was most commonly bet on with one or two decks. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in ‘56 which described how to lower the casino advantage built on probability and stats which was quite bewildering for individuals who weren’t mathematicians.

In 1962, Dr. Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to advance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s paper and also created the 1st strategies for counting cards. Dr. Ed Thorp authored a tome called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting techniques and the tactics for reducing the casino edge.

This spawned a massive increase in chemin de fer gamblers at the US casinos who were attempting to implement Dr. Thorp’s tactics, much to the confusion of the casinos. The system was not easy to understand and difficult to implement and therefore improved the earnings for the betting houses as more and more people took to gambling on Blackjack.

However this huge growth in earnings was not to last as the players became more sophisticated and more insightful and the system was further improved. In the 80’s a bunch of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made counting cards a part of the day-to-day vernacular. Since then the casinos have introduced countless measures to thwart players who count cards including but not limited to, more than one deck, shoes, shuffle machines, and speculation has it, complex computer programs to observe actions and detect "cheaters". While not illegal being discovered counting cards will get you blocked from most if not all casinos in sin city.

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