A man who invented card counting. 30.11.2014

Blackjack News

A man who invented card counting.

Gambling historians say that blackjack has existed since around 1700 when it was invented in France.

It was called Vingt-et-Un which means 21 in French. It gained popularity among french aristocrats and was spread to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

Blackjack has become widely spread all around the world and now it it the most played casino game in the US. Blackjack came to the New World with French colonists. It instantly became the cash cow for the casinos and players loved blackjack, but didn't know how to manipulate it until the 1960's, when Edward O.Thorp – a young scientist, made a huge change.

The 30-year old Edward O. Thorp was working as a researcher at the Massachusetts institute of Technology. The young mathematician has conducted a series of experiments on mathematical probability by... using blackjack as his case study. At that time, computers were a new thing and people were fascinated by the idea that a machine could turn numbers into complex statistical models.

The New York Herald Tribune ran an article about Thorp and here is an excerpt from it:

“The omnipresent computer…may have at last produced a palpable boon for the common run of mankind: a system for winning money in a gambling house. A 30-year-old mathematics professor named Edward O. Thorp claims to have made this historic breakthrough by feeding the equivalent of 10,000 man-years of desk-calculator computations into an IBM 704 computer and arriving at a set of discoveries about the way the odds fluctuate in the game of blackjack, or twenty-one.”

Basically, Thorp had discovered that that the odds of winning a given hand are not random and a player that would understand how these odds work, could use that knowledge to his advantage by betting more or less.

Thorp's computer model showed that the fewer cards numbered from 2 to 8 are in the deck, the higher is the chance to win. The more low cards are dealt, the more high cards are in the deck.

Thorp's model also found that if all four fives have been removed from the deck, the player has an edge of 3,29% over the house.

Five years later Thorp published his book that is now considered as the bible of card counting. It's called Beat the Dealer.

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