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Blackjack : The Beginning of Professional Blackjack

By Andrea Klein

Level: May 16th 2007

There are a lot of myths about blackjack. Many of them appeared before the publication of the basic strategy for one deck games in 1958. Anyway, the legends about blackjack haven’t disappeared. The American statisticians Roger Baldwin, Wilbert E. Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott, who developed the strategy, performed their calculations only with the help of a hand calculator. Their article about blackjack in the American Journal of the American Statistical Association caused much excitement among gamblers and statisticians. The increasing popularity of the article determined them to publish a book entitled "Winning Blackjack". Today, the book is a limited edition and can be found in many professional gamblers home libraries.

In 1962 Edward O. Thorp developed further their strategy this time using computer technologies for his calculations. He published in his book "Beat the Dealer" the basic strategy of playing and additionally the card counting system. He mentioned in the book that blackjack differs from roulette, craps and other games of luck. In blackjack the result of every hand depends on the previous dealt hand. In spite of the fact that Thorp's results are very precise, anyone should read his book only if only for historical interest not for playing.

The counting system proposed by Thorp was useful for one deck games and it was difficult to learn. That’s why many gamblers gave it up. Moreover, the casinos restricted some rules disturbingly in this way the ones who followed his principles. Among the measures they introduced were - shuffling after taking out the trim card and multi deck games.

However, Thorp systems became famous all around the world. It was an important step for introducing computers into the games of chance and skill. He participated at many conferences which included this subject.

Harvey Dubner participated at his conferences and after a while he came with another version of the blackjack system. He set aside a count of remaining high cards (10,J,Q,K,A) and low cards (2,3,4,5,6). Then he divided the difference at total cards left to play. Dubner called his procedure the High-Low Ratio. People were enthusiastic to follow this simplified system. Moreover, Thorp included the High-Low Ratio, in his second edition of "Beat the Dealer" published in 1966.

Over the years, it was also mentioned in hundreds of professional books about blackjack, team games, online games and other types of games all over the world.

Lesson 1: Blackjack History
Where was the game born? And who named it BlackJack?
Lesson 2: Blackjack Rules
All you need to know before getting started.
Lesson 3: Blackjack Strategy
The many strategies to get a winning edge over the casino, besides getting "Rain Man" to play for you of course!
Lesson 4: Blackjack Vocabulary
Speak like a pro. Talk the talk, the walk is up to you!
Lesson 5: Blackjack Tips
What you should keep in mind, and even a little more on strategy.

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