The History of Black Jack

[ English ]

The card game of chemin de fer was introduced to the US in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that a technique was developed to beat the house in chemin de fer. This material is going to grab a rapid peak at the creation of that system, Counting Cards.

When betting was legitimized in Nevada in 1934, twenty-one screamed into recognition and was usually wagered on with one or two decks of cards. Roger Baldwin wrote a paper in ‘56 which detailed how to reduce the casino advantage built on odds and statistics which was quite bewildering for people who weren’t mathematicians.

In 1962, Dr. Edward O. Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to refine the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also created the 1st card counting techniques. Dr. Thorp wrote a book called "Beat the Dealer" which summarized card counting strategies and the strategies for reducing the house edge.

This spawned a huge increase in black jack gamblers at the US betting houses who were attempting to implement Dr. Ed Thorp’s strategies, much to the confusion of the casinos. The strategy was hard to understand and difficult to implement and therefore improved the profits for the betting houses as more and more folks took to wagering on chemin de fer.

However this massive growth in earnings was not to last as the players became more highly developed and more educated and the system was further improved. 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 but not limited to, multiple decks, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and rumor has it, sophisticated computer programs to read body language and detect "cheaters". While not illegal being caught counting cards will get you banned from the majority of brick and mortar casinos in Las Vegas.

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