The Beginnings of Black Jack

Monday, 1. February 2010

[ English ]

The casino game of Blackjack was introduced to the United States of America in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the mid twentieth century that a strategy was created to defeat the house in black jack. This material is going to grab a swift look at the development of that strategy, Counting Cards.

When gambling was authorized in the state of Nevada in 1934, black jack sky-rocketed into recognition and was commonly played with one or 2 decks. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in ‘56 which described how to lower the casino advantage founded on probability and stats which was very bewildering for players who were not math experts.

In 1962, Dr. Ed Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to advance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also created the first card counting techniques. Dr. Ed Thorp wrote a tome called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting strategies and the practices for reducing the house advantage.

This created a large increase in black jack competitors at the US casinos who were attempting to implement Dr. Thorp’s strategies, much to the anxiety of the casinos. The system was difficult to understand and hard to execute and therefore heightened the earnings for the betting houses as more and more people took to gambling on black jack.

However this huge growth in earnings was not to last as the players became more highly developed and more cultivated and the system was further refined. In the 1980’s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made counting cards a part of the everyday vernacular. Since then the casinos have introduced countless measures to counteract card counters including but not limited to, more than one deck, shoes, shuffle machines, and rumour has itnow complex computer software to analyze actions and detect "cheaters". While not illegal being caught counting cards will get you barred from all casinos in vegas.

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