[ English ]

The game of chemin de fer was brought to the United States of America in the 1800’s but it was not until the middle of the 20th century that a strategy was created to beat the house in chemin de fer. This article is going to take a quick peak at the birth of that system, Card Counting.

When gambling was legitimized in Nevada in ‘34, twenty-one sky-rocketed into popularity and was most commonly bet on with 1 or two decks of cards. Roger Baldwin published a paper in ‘56 which explained how to reduce the casino edge built on odds and stats which was really difficult to understand for those who weren’t mathematicians.

In ‘62, Dr. Ed Thorp used an IBM 704 computer to enhance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also created the first card counting tactics. Dr. Ed Thorp authored a book called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting techniques and the practices for reducing the casino edge.

This created a massive growth in Blackjack competitors at the US betting houses who were attempting to put into practice Dr. Thorp’s strategies, much to the consternation of the casinos. The strategy was difficult to comprehend and hard to execute and thusly heightened the profits for the casinos as more and more people took to gambling on twenty-one.

However this large increase in earnings wasn’t to last as the gamblers became more sophisticated and more insightful and the system was further refined. In the 80’s a group of students from MIT made card counting a part of the everyday vernacular. Since then the casinos have introduced countless methods to thwart card counters including, more than one deck, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and speculation has it, sophisticated computer software to read body language and identify "cheaters". While not against the law being caught counting cards will get you barred from most betting houses in sin city.