The Beginnings of Black Jack

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The casino game of Blackjack was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800’s but it was not until the middle of the twentieth century that a strategy was created to defeat the house in Blackjack. This material is going to take a rapid look at the creation of that strategy, Counting Cards.

When wagering was legalized in Nevada in ‘34, black jack screamed into universal appeal and was most commonly gambled on with 1 or two decks. Roger Baldwin published a paper in 1956 which explained how to lower the casino edge founded on probability and stats which was quite difficult to understand for gamblers who weren’t math experts.

In ‘62, Dr. Edward O. Thorp utilized 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 wrote a tome called "Beat the Dealer" which summarized card counting techniques and the strategies for reducing the house advantage.

This spawned a large increase in black jack players at the US casinos who were attempting to put into practice Dr. Ed Thorp’s techniques, much to the awe of the casinos. The system was not easy to comprehend and difficult to carry through and therefore heightened the earnings for the casinos as more and more folks took to betting on twenty-one.

However this huge growth in profits was not to last as the gamblers became more sophisticated and more aware and the system was further perfected. In the 80’s a bunch of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made card counting a part of the everyday vernacular. Since then the casinos have introduced numerous methods to thwart card counters including, multiple decks, shoes, shuffle machines, and gossip has it, sophisticated computer software to observe body language and identify "cheaters". While not prohibited being caught counting cards will get you banned from all brick and mortar casinos in sin city.

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