Black Jack – The history of card counting

Card counting is an art that has been famous… or infamous… for many years. It got its first real start in 1962, with the publication of a book titled “Beat the Dealer”, written by a man named Edward O. Thorp. This book was quickly accepted as the standard procedure for all card counters, and this solidified Mr. Thorp’s title as the father of Black Jack card counting.

But as these methods became more and more popular, casinos took more and more measures to counter the art. For example, casinos used to deal every single card in the deck, right down to the last one. This, however, is not the case anymore.

There were other card counters before the time of Thorp though. Men like Jess Marcum and Joe Bernstein were successfully counting cards in Black Jack much earlier than 1962. And in 1957, four men who were known as “the four horsemen” (Roger Baldwin, James McDermott, Herbert Maisel, and Wilbert Canteny) came up with a card counting system using only crude mechanical calculators.

Despite the casino’s attempts to put an end to card counting, Black Jack card counting teams continued to count cards. There were several famous teams, including a team from MIT that was the focus of a book by Ben Mezrich, titled “Bringing Down the House”. Other famous team leaders included names like Tommy Hyland, Al Francesco, and Ken Uston.

But even with all of the progress made in the field of card counting, casinos continue to come up with even more sophisticated ways of detecting and banning them. This “battle” is still being fought today, and there are many card counters out there right now, hoping to “strike it rich” at the casino.  And as more and more people hear about card counting, more and more people are out to take advantage of it.