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Origins of card counting in Blackjack

To continue to exist, online and offline casinos must offer games whose advantage is in their favor. In the past, gambling establishments did not have much control over this phenomenon. They settled for offering the kinds of games that players were in the habit of playing. Statistically, over the long term, these players lost money that served to keep the casinos in business.

The case of Blackjack

Gambling establishments have made Blackjack tables available to their clients for a long time. In the past, players, not having mastered the game since no technique yet existed, lost consistently. Casinos were satisfied with their slight advantage over inevitably weak players, who considered this leisure activity to be a simple game of chance in which only luck led them to win or lose their tokens. Gambling establishments were not asking themselves any questions as long as business was running smoothly.

Roger Baldwin’s contribution

From the 1950’s onward, this state of affairs began to evolve. In short, a simple article changed everything. This article was written by Roger Baldwin and is called “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack.” It puts forward an analysis of play options for each hand from a mathematical point of view and introduces a system that allows players to reduce the house advantage. This system would come to be called Basic Strategy.

Edward O. Thorp’s technique

Several years later, in 1962, a mathematics professor, Edward O. Thorp, went even further when he proposed a system that allows players to hold the advantage over the house. He introduced it in a book that has become legendary – Beat the Dealer. His technique consists of counting the cards, and so is known as Card Counting.

A real revolution

The publication of this book was a bombshell in the gambling universe. In short, a lot of players began to win money. In response, Las Vegas’s casinos began to modify the rules of Blackjack. The number of decks contained in the shoe increased and automatic shuffling machines were used. These developments were looked upon very unfavorably by all players, whether they counted cards or not. They began to desert gambling establishments, which were losing a significant source of income. As a result, casinos were compelled to soften the modifications they had put in place, a move that did not fail to bring back the traditional Blackjack players and the card counters too. The latter are usually not especially skillful and no longer cause real concern to casinos. However, these developments did allow Blackjack to dethrone Craps in the hearts of gambling enthusiasts.