[ English ]

The game of twenty-one was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800’s but it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that a technique was developed to defeat the house in twenty-one. This material is going to grab a rapid peak at the birth of that technique, Card Counting.

When betting was legalized in the state of Nevada in 1934, Blackjack screamed into popularity and was usually played with 1 or 2 decks of cards. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in ‘56 which described how to lower the house advantage founded on probability and statistics which was quite confusing for people who were not mathematicians.

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

This spawned a huge growth in Blackjack competitors at the US betting houses who were trying to put into practice Dr. Thorp’s tactics, much to the amazement of the casinos. The strategy was difficult to comprehend and difficult to implement and therefore improved the earnings for the betting houses as more and more people took to playing chemin de fer.

However this huge increase in earnings was not to last as the gamblers became more sophisticated 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 everyday vocabulary. Since then the casinos have introduced countless methods to thwart players who count cards including (but not limited to), more than one deck, shoes, shuffle machines, and speculation has it, complex computer software to analyze body language and detect "cheaters". While not prohibited being discovered counting cards will get you barred from the majority of brick and mortar casinos in vegas.