The Beginnings of Blackjack

The card game of black jack was introduced to the U.S. in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that a strategy was created to defeat the casino in twenty-one. This article is going to take a rapid peak at the birth of that technique, Counting Cards.

When betting was made legal in the state of Nevada in ‘34, twenty-one sky-rocketed into universal appeal and was most commonly bet on with one or two decks of cards. Roger Baldwin wrote a dissertation in ‘56 which explained how to reduce the house edge based on probability and performance history which was really difficult to understand for people who weren’t math experts.

In ‘62, Dr. Ed Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to enhance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s paper and also created the 1st card counting tactics. Dr. Thorp wrote a book called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting strategies and the tactics for reducing the casino advantage.

This spawned a huge growth in black jack players at the US betting houses who were attempting to implement Dr. Ed Thorp’s tactics, much to the bewilderment of the casinos. The system was challenging to comprehend and hard to execute and therefore improved the profits for the casinos as more and more folks took to betting on chemin de fer.

However this massive increase in earnings was not to last as the players became more sophisticated and more educated and the system was further improved. In the 80’s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made counting cards a part of the regular vernacular. Since then the casinos have introduced countless measures to thwart card counters including (but not limited to), more than one deck, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and rumor has itnow complex computer software to observe body language and identify "cheaters". While not prohibited being discovered counting cards will get you blocked from all brick and mortar casinos in sin city.

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