- The History of Card Counting Card counting - the
only sure way to make money from blackjack.
where a solid online
poker strategy can make you filthy rich, smart
tactics and correct play won't get you all the way
house always has an edge. But just like skilled poker
players master the math
of poker, blackjack players can use calculations
to their advantage. Today, card counting is common
knowledge and the casinos do everything they can to
stop it. But how did it all start?
Edward O. Thorp is a name that everyone who has ever
tried to beat the game of blackjack has committed
to memory. In 1962, Thorp published a book, "Beat
the Dealer," which not only outlined basic blackjack
strategy, but also put into print the first comprehensive
method for counting cards, a method that he had used
with success for years prior.
casual players often either misunderstood or had trouble
implementing Thorp's strategies, they were threatening
enough that the casinos took action, adding decks
and reshuffling part of the way through, rather than
going all the way to the last card.
Some years later, gambler Al Francesco refined the
concept of "team counting," having one player count
while making small bets and then signal to a bigger
player when the count was high. This method made detection
difficult for casino personnel, since no one on the
team was varying their bets. Other blackjack card
counters who came to prominence at this time included
Ken Uston and Stanford Wong.
MIT Blackjack Team
In 1993, a group of MIT students formed a blackjack
team that would become famous. Although MIT had been
fielding blackjack teams for some time (not officially
sponsored MIT teams, but rather teams made up of MIT
graduates and students), this particular team went
on to win millions with their counting skills and
refined team play system. Author Ben Mezrich chronicled
their exploits in his book, "Bringing Down the House."
some of the members of that team gained celebrity
status that precluded them from continuing at card
counters, others continued to count and some continue
to this day, constantly refining their methods to
thwart the ever-watchful casino personnel.