The History of Card Counting in Blackjack

The History of Card Counting in Blackjack

Blackjack, as its name implies, is a game of chance played against the dealer. This table game may have the lowest house edge of any table game if you follow an effective strategy and play consistently over time.

Before casinos took countermeasures, card counting was a legitimate and successful method for playing blackjack. Nowadays, however, casinos are taking steps to prevent card counters from winning big rewards.

Ed Thorp

Ed Thorp, a University math professor turned stock market genius, is widely credited with inventing card counting. His book Beat The Dealer, detailing his method, became an instant classic and is widely considered the father of modern advantage play.

Blackjack is a card game where the deck of cards gradually shrinks, and players can increase their chances of winning by tracking how many high or low cards have been dealt. This strategy, known as counting, can also be applied to roulette and blackjack to maximize your chances of success.

Edward Thorp discovered card counting during a Christmas break in Las Vegas and quickly began beating the casinos with it. Unfortunately, casino managers became aware of his winnings and forbade him from playing at their tables.

Jess Marcum

Card counting in blackjack has been around for years and although it may be seen as cheating, it can also be an effective strategy that could help you win more money. It’s essential to remember, however, that card counting is legal and always consult a professional before using it.

Jess Marcum is widely considered as the creator of card counting in blackjack, though he never received public recognition or published anything about his methods. Born in 1919, Marcum spent his early life working as a nuclear physicist before discovering an opportunity to gain mathematical advantage over casinos in Las Vegas.

He decided to test out his system, and was soon pleased with the results – winning him thousands of dollars over a decade. Unfortunately, casinos quickly caught on to his strategies and barred him from playing.

Stanford Wong

In 1975, Stanford Wong (also known as John Ferguson) published his book Professional Blackjack under his pen name. This re-popularized card counting within the world of gambling.

Ferguson’s book propelled him into the elite realm of card counting experts, joining such esteemed names as Edward O. Thorp – a former UCLA mathematician who wrote the seminal work on card counting, Beat the Dealer.

Thorp’s strategy and the methods it inspired no longer work in casinos due to their determined efforts to counter players who count cards. Casinos began using multiple decks and shuffling machines in an effort to prevent card counters from gaining an edge on them.

Francesco continues to make substantial money at the casino using his skillset despite these changes. One popular strategy that card counters employ is playing only at tables with positive counts, avoiding negative situations whenever possible.

The MIT Blackjack Team

The MIT Blackjack Team was one of the most renowned organized groups of card counters in history, founded by students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

At MIT, the team recruited players through posters and flyers posted around campus. Becoming a full member required extensive practice and mastery before individuals could become full members.

They had to be perfect at playing and keeping score during each game. Even when they lost, their spirits never wavered.

The team employed advanced tracking techniques and shuffles to gain an edge, leading them to win more than 2% to 4% of the money betted.

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