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The History of Black Jack

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The game of twenty-one was introduced to the United States of America in the 1800's but it was not until the mid 20th century that a system was developed to beat the house in Blackjack. This article is going to grab a quick look at the creation of that system, Card Counting.

When wagering was approved in Nevada in 1934, Blackjack sky-rocketed into popularity and was commonly bet on with one or 2 decks. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in '56 which detailed how to lower the house advantage founded on odds and performance history which was very bewildering for individuals who weren't mathematicians.

In '62, Dr. Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to advance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin's dissertation and also created the 1st card counting tactics. Dr. Ed Thorp wrote a book called "Beat the Dealer" which outlined card counting strategies and the tactics for lowering the house edge.

This spawned a large growth in chemin de fer competitors at the US betting houses who were trying to implement Dr. Thorp's techniques, much to the amazement of the casinos. The system was hard to understand and difficult to carry through and therefore increased the earnings for the betting houses as more and more folks took to gambling on Blackjack.

However this huge increase in profits was not to last as the players became more highly developed and more accomplished and the system was further refined. In the 1980's a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made counting cards a part of the regular vernacular. Since then the casinos have brought in numerous methods to counteract card counters including (but not limited to), multiple decks, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and gossip has it, complex computer software to observe actions and identify "cheaters". While not prohibited being discovered counting cards will get you blocked from all betting houses in sin city.

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