Who’s the Godfather of Card Counting?

Card counting has had a huge impact on casinos, & this innovative method can be traced back to one man. Today Edward Thorp is more than a retired mathematics professor. He is the creator of card counting, & his legacy will live on for years to come. This brilliant technique gave players the edge they needed against casinos. It also forced casinos to step up their security & revamp their employee training.

Even though card counting is harder to pull off today, it’s still a formidable foe to casinos. Just 8 years ago the MIT team accrued over $5 million with their tactical approach to card counting. Thousands of other copycats have tried their hand at this mysterious art. Many have been harassed & banned by casinos, while others made their cash & escaped. Every year casinos get better at spotting card counters, so the days of over the top counters may be limited.

It’s no secret that card counting has had a profound impact on gambling culture. It showed players that casinos aren’t perfect, & with enough research there’s always a loophole. In many ways card counting embodies everyone’s dream of beating the casino at their own game. It’s a huge fantasy of the culture, so we decided to cover its illustrious history. Prepare to be blown away by this ground breaking technique!

Edward Thorp: The Master of Card Counting

card counting
This man pioneered card counting.

Edward Thorp is more than just a genius, he’s an entrepreneurial powerhouse that embodies the American dream. Edward Thorp is the mastermind behind card counting, but he didn’t always live in luxury. Back in the early ’60s, he was nothing more than an innocent mathematics professor. Even though his career was far from exciting, he possessed a shocking amount of intelligence. He had already achieved a master’s degree in physics & a doctorate in mathematics. These impressive feats paved the way for his legendary impact on blackjack.

After a friend took Thorp & his wife to Vegas, history was made. After playing multiple rounds of blackjack, Thorp had an epiphany. He was convinced that there was a mathematical way for a player to beat the casinos. This simple thought consumed Edward Thorp. For the next year, he studied every facet of the game. His approach was systematic, & he used a massive university computer to simulate billions of blackjack hands. After spending countless hours studying the game, Thorp perfected his system. This system addressed the variations in cards that remained after certain hands were dealt.

Larger cards are beneficial to the players

Larger cards are beneficial to the players
Larger cards are beneficial to the players

Smaller cards were more advantageous to the dealer. That meant that the player should bet more when they leave the deck since the odds are in their favour. By the same reasoning, larger cards were more advantageous to the player. So when they left the deck the dealer got the upper hand. Players should bet less in this situation since the odds were against them. Thorp estimated that using this system gives a player a 1% to 5% edge over the casino.

Once his strategy was perfected, Edward Thorp went on a rampage. He hit every major casino, making up to $70,000 in a weekend. Since he was the only player card counting, the casinos were baffled. They were convinced that he was cheating, but they couldn’t figure out how. After winning way too much money in every casino, they finally had to ask him to leave.

Faced with multiple casino bans, Edward Thorp diversified his hustle. He wrote a classic book called “Beat the Dealer”, which detailed his system of card counting. It became a best-seller, & in 1966 he wrote a second edition. These books won him a small fortune, & he used his mathematical prowess to invest in hedge funds. This strategic move made him extremely wealthy, so he has never had to count cards again.

About the author

Nathaniel Mansfield