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Edward O. Thorp is the first person to have applied a scientific approach to card counting at the game of blackjack.

Everyone has heard of card counting like the Hi Lo card counting method. As you probably know, there is a little bit more than just "counting" the cards. The general idea is that as some cards have already being played, the cards remaining in the deck are not random anymore, and they may provide profit opportunities for the astute player who is aware of such situations.

Basically this is a question of probabilities and statistics. This is why most blackjack players who want to have fun with the game do not practice card counting, as it makes playing blackjack rather dull and requires a lot of concentration.

Ed Thorp the blackjack player

Edward O. Thorp is a mathematician by training. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1958 and later taught mathematics at MIT and University of California, Irvine. As Ed became more interested in applying his passion for mathematics to real life problems than pure theoretical considerations, he decided to apply his methodical talent to the game of Blackjack.

Edward Thorp is the first to have published a book demonstrating that the game of blackjack could be beaten by card counting, "Beat the Dealer".

Published in 1966, "Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One" is a reference book in gambling circles that sells well to this day. In his masterpiece, Edward Thorp lays the foundation of why and how card counting is a sure method for overcoming the house edge.

In a very rigorous but highly entertaining presentation, Thorp explains how he backed up his method with both solid theoretical and empirical proofs. The book has continued to be a bestseller for nearly five decades because it is written with clarity in a lean and direct prose accessible to everyone.

Are these methods still working?

Casinos were already trying to implement rules to eliminate the advantage of card counting while the book was getting written. So they have kept on making it harder and harder for card counters to operate: usage of multi-decks like 6 or 8, frequent card reshuffling, detection and banning of card counters.

It is still possible to find some opportunities at smaller casinos but you need to search the rules at each casino. As every casino has different rules for blackjack and different ways to operate.

The first thing to master for successful blackjack playing is basic strategy. You can then study card counting. It can be a lot of fun if you are somewhat math inclined, otherwise play blackjack for the fun, and you will have a lot.



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Good Luck at the blackjack tables.