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The Origin of Blackjack

January 30th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The card game of chemin de fer was brought to the U.S. in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the mid twentieth century that a technique was created to beat the casino in black jack. This article is going to grab a swift peak at the development of that strategy, Card Counting.

When casino gambling was approved in the state of Nevada in ‘34, chemin de fer screamed into recognition and was most commonly bet on with one or 2 decks. Roger Baldwin published a paper in ‘56 which described how to lower the house advantage founded on probability and stats which was quite complicated for gamblers who weren’t mathematicians.

In 1962, Dr. Ed Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to better the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s paper and also developed the 1st techniques for card counting. Dr. Thorp wrote a tome called "Beat the Dealer" which outlined card counting strategies and the tactics for reducing the house advantage.

This spawned a large growth in black jack players at the US betting houses who were trying to put into practice Dr. Ed Thorp’s strategies, much to the anxiety of the casinos. The system was hard to understand and complicated to implement and thusly expanded the earnings for the casinos as more and more people took to betting on Blackjack.

However this large growth in profits wasn’t to last as the players became more highly developed and more cultivated and the system was further improved. In the 80’s a group of students from MIT made counting cards a part of the everyday vocabulary. Since then the casinos have developed countless methods to thwart card counters including but not limited to, multiple decks, shoes, shuffle machines, and rumor has it, sophisticated computer software to observe body language and identify "cheaters". While not prohibited being discovered counting cards will get you banned from the majority of betting houses in Las Vegas.

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