The Origin of Chemin de Fer

by Nina on Feb.22, 2010, under Blackjack

[ English ]

The casino game of Blackjack was brought to the United States in the 1800’s but it was not until the mid twentieth century that a strategy was developed to beat the house in black jack. This material is going to take a rapid look at the creation of that system, Counting Cards.

When casino gambling was made legal in Nevada in ‘34, twenty-one sky-rocketed into recognition and was usually bet on with 1 or 2 decks of cards. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in 1956 which explained how to lower the casino advantage founded on probability and stats which was quite bewildering for gamblers who were not math experts.

In 1962, Dr. Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to better the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also developed the first card counting strategies. Dr. Ed Thorp authored a tome called "Beat the Dealer" which outlined card counting techniques and the practices for reducing the house edge.

This created a massive growth in twenty-one gamblers at the US betting houses who were trying to implement Dr. Thorp’s techniques, much to the consternation of the casinos. The strategy was hard to understand and difficult to implement and thusly increased the earnings for the casinos as more and more people took to gambling on black jack.

However this massive growth in profits wasn’t to last as the players became more refined and more cultivated and the system was further perfected. In the 80’s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made card counting a part of the everyday vocabulary. Since then the casinos have introduced countless measures to counteract players who count cards including but not limited to, multiple decks, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and rumor has it, complex computer programs to read actions and identify "cheaters". While not against the law being discovered counting cards will get you banned from all betting houses in vegas.

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