Blackjack has a colorful history. Shows have been made out of just parts of it. In fact, I credit Blackjack with launching the development of systems and books about gambling.
It all started back in the 18th century. There was a French card game called “Ving-et-un” and it was the foundation for today’s game of Blackjack. Some say that history comes back around to the present.
In the 1800s, America was anti-gambling in its stance. Gambling was an underground activity. That began to change in the 1900s and in 1931 gambling was legalized in Nevada. Almost five decades later, Atlantic City followed.
The late 1950s is really were it all started. The man was Roger Baldwin and is 1956 publication “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack” paved the way for the marriage between man and math in gambling. It’s as if the light went on. Blackjack can be beat.
Six years later a man by the name of Edward O. Thorp released a book that quickly became a towering hit and it’s the book that’s known by many Blackjack players. The book was called “Beat the Dealer.”
The doors were now opened and many started looking at casinos as a way to get rich. In fact, Lawrence Revere believed this very thing. He took the simple concept of winning at Blackjack one step further by releasing a book called “Playing Blackjack as a Business.”
The wheels were turning and the 1970s marked the next huge revolution. Computers were now brought into the mix. Enthusiasts all over were using computers to create and run simulations-trying to find the ultimate winning strategy. And it was in this era that casinos really got worried.
It was one thing for a handful of people to try and come up with systems while losing real money. It was another for a wider audience to be able to develop and test perfected systems. The public was now developing a hunger for Blackjack knowledge.
Casino operators realized that single-deck Blackjack was vulnerable. That’s when they devised the “shoe.” The “shoe” held multiple decks of cards. When multiple decks are added to the game, the percentages change. It’s also easier to protect against card counters.
Given all this, one man-Ken Uston-made a living beating Blackjack in casinos. He’s a legend. He was so successful at destroying the game that seven Las Vegas casinos banned him for life.
Uston thought he might have a legal battle, so he sued. The final judgment came down in 1987. Uston was found dead in Paris. Did the casino owners kill him? Was it a deal gone bad? Was it just the wrong place at the wrong time?
Today, Blackjack books and software programs are all over. Each year many people go online or visit a casino in hopes of claiming riches at the Blackjack table. It still remains a game that can be beat.