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The History of Blackjack

The card game of chemin de fer was introduced to the US in the 1800’s but it wasn’t until the mid twentieth century that a strategy was created to defeat the casino in black jack. This material is going to take a rapid peak at the development of that technique, Card Counting.

When casino gambling was legitimized in the state of Nevada in ‘34, chemin de fer sky-rocketed into universal appeal and was usually bet on with 1 or 2 decks of cards. Roger Baldwin wrote a dissertation in ‘56 which explained how to lower the casino advantage based on odds and statistics which was very complicated for people who were not mathematicians.

In 1962, Dr. Ed Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to refine the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also created the first card counting strategies. Dr. Ed Thorp authored a book called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting strategies and the practices for lowering the casino advantage.

This created a massive increase in black jack players at the US casinos who were trying to put into practice Dr. Thorp’s strategies, much to the consternation of the casinos. The system was hard to comprehend and complicated to put into practice and thusly expanded the profits for the betting houses as more and more folks took to playing Blackjack.

However this massive increase in profits wasn’t to continue as the gamblers became more refined and more cultivated and the system was further improved. In the 1980’s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made card counting a part of the regular vocabulary. Since then the casinos have brought in countless methods to counteract players who count cards including (but not limited to), more than one deck, shoes, shuffle machines, and rumor has it, complex computer programs to observe actions and identify "cheaters". While not illegal being discovered counting cards will get you blocked from all casinos in vegas.

Posted in Blackjack.

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