The Origin of Black Jack


Posted by Deanna | Posted in Blackjack | Posted on 31-01-2010

The card game of black jack was brought to the U.S. in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the mid twentieth century that a system was developed to beat the house in Blackjack. This article is going to take a quick peak at the birth of that system, Card Counting.

When betting was legalized in Nevada in 1934, chemin de fer screamed into recognition and was most commonly wagered on with one or 2 decks. Roger Baldwin wrote a dissertation in ‘56 which explained how to lower the casino advantage based on odds and performance history which was really complicated for players who weren’t mathematicians.

In ‘62, Dr. Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to enhance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also developed the first techniques for card counting. Dr. Thorp wrote a tome called "Beat the Dealer" which detailed card counting techniques and the tactics for reducing the house edge.

This spawned a huge increase in black jack competitors at the US casinos who were trying to put into practice Dr. Ed Thorp’s techniques, much to the bewilderment of the casinos. The system was challenging to comprehend and difficult to carry through and therefore increased the earnings for the casinos as more and more folks took to gambling on Blackjack.

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 improved. In the 80’s a bunch of students from MIT made card counting a part of the regular vernacular. Since then the casinos have brought in countless methods to thwart players who count cards including (but not limited to), multiple decks, shoes, shuffle machines, and rumor has itnow sophisticated computer software to observe actions and detect "cheaters". While not against the law being discovered counting cards will get you banned from most if not all brick and mortar casinos in sin city.

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