If you don’t know, now we are living in 43th year of Thorp’s era. This person had such a great influence on the blackjack and all the gambling industry, that I seriously consider that he is worth of setting up a monument while alive, by the way at the owl77 expense.
Being a young scientist, Edward O. Thorp regularly read mathematic journals. When he was a student, he was pressed for money. The idea of outplaying the casino on the basis of calculations appealed to Thorp and he decided to check the results of the “excellent four” and see what will come out of it. The result of his activity was a phenomenal book Beat The Dealer, now its sales are approaching million of samples.
Thorp chose the other way – he did not make analytical calculations, but with powerful at that time computer IBM (they were also called mainframe) he wrote several programs on Fortran, creating quite original methods for 60s. By the way, Thorp together with his research instructor Claude Elwood Shannon, a great scientist, were also involved in solving the problem “how to outplay the roulette?”
From his calculations Thorp understood that dead cards had a considerable affect on the gambler’s chances this or that way. His main idea was about memorizing the dead cards in somewhat simplified way and when the situation is beneficial for the player, make high stakes. By the way, this system still remains the basis of any methods and counting systems of blackjack.
The counting system introduced by Thorp, was rather complicated for usage in real casinos, required great concentration and large amount of mentally arithmetic actions. However with good training there was nothing impossible in its application. Thorp’s book immediately became a success and bestseller. Everyone understood that with quite simple actions you can get an advantage. Every reader dreamt of enormous prizes. However, the casinos also knew the score.