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He was tall , think, wore rimless spectacles and looked just like what he was, a young assistant professor of maths on a weekend trip to the bright lights of Reno.  What’s more his play was irritatingly slow.  He paused for thought and stared at all the cardsgames dealt.  ‘Another system player’ was the unspoken comment of the blackjack dealer.  she was particularly unfriendly to this slow witted hick, dragging out her time with one dollar bets at five goddamn a.m. in the graveyard shift.  When he asked if he could play two hands at a time, she refused.  It was house policy, she told him with a derisive little snort, that he had to bet two dollars per hand if he wanted to play two hands.  he was tired and irritable, already down a hundred on the night, and there was a sharp exchange of words.  Pert in her buckskin shirt and string tie, she retaliated by dealing out as fast as she could.

The proof stolidly continued to play poker his one hand, won, raised his stake to four dollars, won, raised his stake to eight dollars, and won again.  He let the sixteen dollars ride and won that hand too.  ‘Guess it’s time to take a small profit,’ he told the infuriated dealer.  he stacked up twenty dollars in chips on the table and continued to bet in units of twenty.  By the end of the deck he had recouped his hundred loss and a few dollars extra.  He picked up his pile of chips and, sandy-eyed and stiff, stumbled off to bed.

            Two nights later at a casino in Lake Tahoe he was betting in units of a hundred dollars.  His maladroit fumbling had been honed to a streamlined accuracy.  Within thirty minutes of sitting down the proof and a companion had emptied the table’s money tray, which is the blackjack equivalent of breaking the bank. The dealer began to panic.  One of the girls sent on SOS to her boyfriend higher up in the casino.  ‘Oh, help me! The pit boss who had welcomed the high rollers with dinner and expansive smiles looked apprehensive.

            In a couple of hours the pair broke the bank again.  The huge pile of chips in front  of them stood at over $ 17.000.  By now the professor was feeling the after-effects of dinner and, tiring rapidly, decided to cash in.  as he threaded his way over to the cashier’s cage he was surprised to observe three or four very pretty, scantily clad girls wandering back and forth across his path., flashing him inviting looks.  ‘If you’ve got the money, honey…I’ve got the time.

’  Weaving his way back between the ladies, like Ulysses sailing home, he was horrified to see his friend at the blackjack table (now that his mentor was no longer at his elbow) hell-bent on hurling his profits back whence they had come.  Despite all pleas, despite his losses, the man wouldn’t budge.  He hung onto the table yelling, ‘I…will…not…leave …this …place! He kept shouting the cards were hot.  It took forty-five  minutes and several thousand dollars down the chute to praise him out.
            Yes, the proof was a system player all right.  He had discovered a system which reversed the laws of gambling guide. It was soon to upend Nevada.  The petulant blackjack dealer, if she had but known it, was participating in an experiment which changed the face of the industry.  Its repercussions are still being felt in every casino, every night, in every resort worldwide.

Edward O. Thorp was not, is not, gambler.  But since childhood he had always been excited by scientific experiment.  Son of a Los Angeles security guard, he loved shrill noises and loud bangs.  His most bizarre test was when he filled a war-surplus balloon with stove gas and floated it 800 feet into the air, tethered by a blackened cord invisible in the night.  A few minutes later the young Thorp watched in delight as a parachute flare suspended from the balloon automatically activated itself, illuminating a good section of LA with an eerie white glare.  The mysterious UFO was never explained.The best casinos featured on this site only use casino software.Racing Market to Receive Tax Cut on slot machine Earnings.

            A mysterious light might will have manifested itself over the casino that night when he first tested his blackjack theory.  As he told me, he believes he could have made an income of three hundred thousand a year at the game of cards.  (In practice, one must doubt that claim because he would have had to content, in the process, with being cheated out of every cent he had, if he had tried: apart from a few casual trips he never played blackjack seriously again.)  No, Thorp was a mathematician.  Instead of playing blackjack, he went away and wrote a book about it, Beat The Dealer (1962), which has become a classic of gambling literature.  It stands in relation to gambling rather as Einstein’s theory of relativity does not physics it changed perception of reality.  It has sold in hardback alone over 100,000 copies and has gone on selling and deeper analysis, spawning a whole sub-culture of blackjack.

Blackjack is the American name for the homely card game of 21, pontoon as it is known in England when played around the kitchen table, or vingt-et-un, to give it its French title.  It is an entertaining game, first of all because each player is in control of his own hand (unlike the impersonal mechanical spin of a roulette wheel).  Secondly, it can be quite a sociable game during which there is time to chat to friends or other players at the table, sharing the ups and downs of fortune; alternatively, if you feel like unwinding by yourself, you can play blackjack all night without uttering a word to anyone.  And third, the game offers enough of a mental challenge to make it continually interesting, to experts and novices alike.  (I set out the basic rules of the game on the following page.)

In 1985 Blackjack accounted for nearly one half of total gross casino revenues of over $ 2.2 billion in Nevada.  In Britain, though it was only 16 per cent of the drop (roulette is more popular), it nevertheless produced £ 160 million in profit.  It’s the only casino game that really tempts me, though like Professor Thorp (but I am no mathematician at all) I do not pursue it seriously: my idea is 40 minutes’ relaxation at the table after dinner sometimes…and if I get five units ahead, I streak for the exit.  As you can see from the figures, Blackjack is very big business.  The casino, notwithstanding Thorp and his followers and all their arcane calculations, will never give it up.