The History of Chemin de Fer

The game of chemin de fer was introduced to the US in the 19th century but it was not until the middle of the 20th century that a technique was developed to beat the casino in Blackjack. This article is going to take a rapid peak at the creation of that technique, Card Counting.

When gambling was made legal in Nevada in ‘34, black jack sky-rocketed into universal appeal and was most commonly gambled on with 1 or 2 decks of cards. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in 1956 which explained how to lower the casino edge based on odds and statistics which was very confusing for gamblers who weren’t math experts.

In ‘62, Dr. Ed Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to advance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s paper and also developed the first card counting strategies. Dr. Ed Thorp authored a book called "Beat the Dealer" which detailed card counting techniques and the strategies for reducing the house advantage.

This spawned a large increase in twenty-one players at the US betting houses who were trying to implement Dr. Ed Thorp’s techniques, much to the confusion of the casinos. The system was hard to understand and complicated to implement and thusly increased the earnings for the betting houses as more and more folks took to wagering on Blackjack.

However this massive growth in earnings wasn’t to last as the players became more highly developed and more educated and the system was further improved. In the 1980’s a bunch of students from MIT made card counting a part of the everyday vocabulary. Since then the casinos have developed countless measures to counteract card counters including (but not limited to), multiple decks, shoes, shuffle machines, and gossip has it, complex computer programs to scrutinize body language and identify "cheaters". While not prohibited being discovered counting cards will get you blocked from most if not all betting houses in Las Vegas.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.