Card Counting Paper Statistics

2094 words - 8 pages

Delving into the seemingly "seedy" side of card counting appealed to me because it was a subject that could ultimately make me my fortune. I had always heard the term "counting cards" and people being asked to leave casinos for doing exactly that. There was an air of mystery and illicitness surrounding the entire subject that piqued my interest, especially after making contact over the internet with a person called "The GameMaster" while researching this subject. However, after doing more research I realized that there really wasn't as much mystery as there was mathematic theory and applications in card counting. I admit, this took a bit of the appealing seediness out of it, but it was interesting to try to understand the concepts all the same. I still may win my fortune yet!The history of card counting is not completely documented, but all literature pointed to Dr. Edward Thorpe as an early reliable source. Dr. Thorpe was a professor at MIT and later an adjunct professor of finance and mathematics at the University of California at Irvine. In reading from the "About the Author" section of his book entitled "The Mathematics of Gambling", I was able to ascertain the little personal information about him I could find. Dr. Thorpe showed an interest as early as graduate school at UCLA in figuring out the probabilities involved in gambling. In his book, there were tips on how to gamble on just about every game in a casino. It appears as though his theories are well thought out and tested, but he does not share any esteemed respect among his peers. This may have something to do with his subject matter. It was surprising that so little personal information appears anywhere regarding this interesting individual. At the present time, I am not sure if Dr. Thorpe is still among the living, despite my research efforts.Dr. Thorpe based his work upon the Basic Strategy Theory of two mathematicians named Baldwin and Cantey. Their theory apparently was not considered to be 100% mathematically valid (Stricker, p. 1). Dr. Thorpe used a computer (the fact alone is amazing considering it was the early 1960's) to test his theories. In 1962, he published a revolutionary book called "Beat the Dealer", which was revised in 1966. He is still revered as the father of card counting for blackjack players. In fact, almost every search engine I used brought me to casino sites that always mentioned his name as the earliest reliable source of card counting. Other card counting systems have since evolved from his original theories, which are now over forty years old.The validity of Baldwin and Cantey's early work was questioned because there were not enough trials run to validate (or invalidate) their strategy (Stricker, p. 1). While working at the Atomic Research Center at Los Alamos, N.M., Dr. Thorpe ran millions of trials and perfected a "Single Deck Strategy" for blackjack. (Stricker, p. 2). He also realized one important thing that made blackjack a bit different from other...

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