The History of Blackjack

The casino game of Blackjack was introduced to the U.S. in the 19th century but it was not until the mid twentieth century that a technique was developed to defeat the house in Blackjack. This material is going to take a quick look at the creation of that technique, Card Counting.

When betting was legitimized in the state of Nevada in 1934, Blackjack screamed into universal appeal and was usually gambled on with 1 or 2 decks. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in 1956 which detailed how to lower the casino edge based on probability and stats which was very confusing for gamblers who were not math experts.

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

This spawned a large increase in twenty-one competitors at the US casinos who were trying to put into practice Dr. Ed Thorp’s techniques, much to the consternation of the casinos. The system was challenging to comprehend and complicated to carry through and therefore expanded the earnings for the betting houses as more and more people took to wagering on black jack.

However this huge growth in profits wasn’t to last as the gamblers became more sophisticated and more educated 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 day-to-day vernacular. Since then the casinos have brought in numerous measures to counteract players who count cards including (but not limited to), multiple decks, shoes, shuffle machines, and rumour has itnow sophisticated computer software to scrutinize body language and identify "cheaters". While not prohibited being caught counting cards will get you banned from most casinos in vegas.

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