The Beginnings of Black Jack


Posted by Barbara | Posted in Blackjack | Posted on 02-02-2010

The game of chemin de fer was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800’s but it was not until the mid twentieth century that a technique was created to defeat the house in chemin de fer. This article is going to take a quick peak at the development of that strategy, Counting Cards.

When wagering was legalized in the state of Nevada in ‘34, Blackjack screamed into universal appeal and was most commonly wagered on with one or two decks of cards. Roger Baldwin wrote a dissertation in 1956 which explained how to reduce the casino advantage founded on probability and performance history which was quite complicated for people who were not mathematicians.

In 1962, Dr. Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to advance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s paper and also created the first card counting tactics. Dr. Thorp authored a book called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting strategies and the strategies for lowering the house edge.

This spawned a large growth in twenty-one players at the US betting houses who were attempting to implement Dr. Ed Thorp’s tactics, much to the amazement of the casinos. The technique was difficult to comprehend and hard to put into practice and therefore expanded the profits for the betting houses as more and more folks took to gambling on chemin de fer.

However this huge growth in earnings was not to last as the gamblers became more highly developed and more cultivated and the system was further perfected. In the 80’s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made card counting a part of the regular vernacular. Since then the casinos have introduced numerous measures to counteract players who count cards including but not limited to, more than one deck, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and speculation has it, complex computer software to scrutinize body language and identify "cheaters". While not against the law being discovered counting cards will get you banned from the majority of brick and mortar casinos in sin city.

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