History of Blackjack Card Counting - Main Info

Card counting appeared more than a half of a century ago. It appeared as a result of blackjack popularity and the result of people's attempts to win money from casino not occasionally, but with a definite frequency. In other words, some people decided to make blackjack not only a game, but a way of earning money.

The first person to be remembered in the history of card counting is Dr. Edward Thorp. He may be known as a father of card counting and is considered to be the originator of the modern card counting strategies. It was he who explored the basic blackjack rules in action and found their natural laws based on mathematics.


In 1957 was published a book called "Playing Blackjack to Win". It was not really famous book but it was the first one to write about counting cards in general.

The breakout in card counting began when in 1962 the book "Beat the dealer" appeared, written by Edward Thorp. In this book, which was a bestseller on its time, are described the basic principles and strategies of card counting in blackjack card games. This information made a complete revolution in gambling world and blackjack playing itself, though it didn't make its creator a legend or a highly respected person - Thorp went through multiple skeptic articles and assaults.

Nevertheless, "Beat the Dealer" was the first system of winning in blackjack which was proven mathematically, and it had great success among a huge amount of people.


Jess Marcum, a scientist who discovered a method of counting cards in 1949. After his discovery he left his nuclear physics and became a professional blackjack player. He didn't write any kind of books which described his discovery.

Harold Smith, the author of the book called "I want to quit winners". He was a casino owner and published his book a year earlier than Thorp did. He also discovered the method of counting cards and preferred to make bets when the deck had a lot of aces.

John Scarne, a showman and gambling consultant in casinos all over the world, didn't like Thorp's book because it took a considerable part of his own glory of a "number one expert in gambling". He also published a book called "Complete Guide to Casino Gambling", which described the strategy Thorp proved to be wrong. In fact Scarne is still not forgotten only thanks to his feud with Thorp.


In fact Thorp's method was so popular because it was the first one which systemized the card counting strategies in general. A lot of blackjack card games variations and a lot of more effective and complicated strategies appeared since those times, and we'll meet you with them in the next sections.

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