The Origin of Black Jack

[ English ]

The card game of chemin de fer was introduced to the US in the 1800’s but it wasn’t until the middle of the twentieth century that a strategy was developed to beat the casino in black jack. This material is going to take a swift peak at the birth of that strategy, Counting Cards.

When gambling was made legal in Nevada in ‘34, twenty-one sky-rocketed into universal appeal and was commonly bet on with one or 2 decks. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in ‘56 which described how to lower the house edge built on odds and stats which was quite complicated for individuals who were not math experts.

In 1962, Dr. Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to enhance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s paper and also developed the first card counting techniques. Dr. Ed Thorp authored a book called "Beat the Dealer" which outlined card counting techniques and the strategies for lowering the house advantage.

This created a massive increase in black jack competitors at the US betting houses who were attempting to put into practice Dr. Thorp’s strategies, much to the anxiety of the casinos. The strategy was hard to comprehend and difficult to carry through and thusly elevated the profits for the casinos as more and more people took to wagering on Blackjack.

However this massive increase in profits wasn’t to last as the players became more refined and more insightful and the system was further perfected. In the 80’s a bunch of students from MIT made card counting a part of the regular vocabulary. Since then the casinos have brought in countless measures to thwart card counters including but not limited to, multiple decks, shoes, shuffle machines, and gossip has it, complex computer programs to analyze actions and detect "cheaters". While not against the law being caught counting cards will get you blocked from most casinos in sin city.

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