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Sometimes, in order to turn your life and the lives of thousands of other people around, you just need to try something new.

One of the most brilliant theoretical thinkers, the one who published the book Beat the Dealer, never thought that he would learn how to masterfully beat the casino or teach others how to do it.

Edward Thorpe’s tactics have conquered almost the entire gaming universe. It was a trend for cunning, dexterity, and mathematical deduction.

Could he also excel at online blackjack? Nobody knows.

Card counting: origins


Any ingenious invention did not just happen. No outstanding person was born with trump cards up their sleeves. Everything comes with experience and chance. It so happened that Edward Thorpe who managed to develop a theory against chance also came to the casino by chance. This fact that sounds like a joke turned the course of the history of gambling establishments.

Back in the 1960s, mathematician Edward Thorpe knew nothing about gambling. His world revolved around numbers, mathematical theories, and students – he worked as a teacher at the university.

One day, a good friend of Thorpe decided to introduce him to the casino and invited him to gamble in Las Vegas. He was most attracted to the game of blackjack. Professional instinct stubbornly insisted that this game could succumb to logic and mathematical calculations, which turned out to be true.

Edward began to develop his own theory. It took months, but the result amazed not only the master. As a result, Edward had hundreds of loopholes on how to carry out the system.

But the most interesting thing is the theory of card counting. The professor figured out that most importantly, to succeed at the game, one must understand which cards are left in the deck.

Thorpe came to the logical conclusion that the smaller the card, the better for the dealer. Accordingly, if smaller cards leave the table, then the next step for the player is to raise.

Professor’s theory in practice

Believing is good. But any theory requires confirmation. It was not long in coming.
The professor found himself a partner in this adventure: the famous bookmaker Manny Kimmel. The role of the bookmaker was extremely simple – to give the professor the right sum of money in order to test the theory.
Everything turned out better than one could have imagined: the master doubled the starting capital and realised that the theory is true!
Managers of gambling establishments could not figure out the professor. Curiously, he was repeatedly checked for fair play, monitored on cameras, and even interrogated.

Technology in action


Together with his partner, Edward decided to go even further, and a special portable counter came into play, which helped to understand which cards were out of the game.
Thorpe figured out that he shouldn’t get hung up on one blackjack and switched to baccarat and roulette.
Portable technologies did not bring joy for long: the casino owners soon found out about the help and forbade carrying any things into the establishments.

The phenomenon of the book Winning the Dealer

Soon, the professor and genius of mathematics realized that his knowledge needed to be monetized. The scientist was not afraid that he was stealing something from himself by talking about his theory: after all, many would learn to play according to his principle. He was well aware that the funds of the casino would be enough for everyone. The players were ready to tear the book off the shelves just to find out the secret of that very legendary count. The opus Win Against the Dealer was published and it immediately sold out all 700 thousand copies.
Interestingly, the story had the other side of the coin, the one that is pleasant for casino owners. After the book was studied by thousands of players, they immediately rushed to gambling establishments to test their knowledge in practice. Of course, not everyone succeeded, but the interest did not let customers leave the institution. As a result, there has been a real boom in the casino.

Key to the puzzle

What is the secret that has conquered almost all fans of gambling establishments?
According to the theory of the mathematician, one can deftly observe the situation in the game thanks to a clear counting of cards with a face value of five. The fewer such cards in the game, the more likely it is that the player will leave with a win.
A little later, Edward expanded the boundaries of the theory and deduced the counting of cards with a face value of ten. Of course, more theory was on the way. The players skilfully parsed the theory into molecules, came up with their own schemes, and card counting won over the public. Some players looked after the fives, others for the tens, and then the winnings were fairly divided. The concept of groups in the casino appeared, which in principle sounded wild before.
Unfortunately, the casinos realized too quickly that something was wrong. Control measures were tightened, and there were 3-4 security guards near the gaming tables. They vigilantly followed the events but the theory still worked.

Insecurity theory: how a professor almost lost his life

Success is not forgiven to many. Especially when it comes to hacking the casino system.
Edward Thorpe has repeatedly admitted in his numerous interviews that the theory gifted him a sufficient number of ill-wishers who wished for his death.
Thorpe enthusiastically talked about a poisoning attempt. The mathematician, as usual, was spending his free time in the casino, treated himself to a drink, and instantly realized that something was wrong. He lost the ability to think adequately and could not stand up. Later it turned out that a drug was added to the cocktail.
Set-up accidents, assassination attempts in a dark alley, telephone threats – there was everything in the life of the brilliant professor.
The mathematician himself argued that he never thought that his passion for numbers would lead him to the casino or make him the number one enemy of many.

Life after the book


A resounding success needs to be felt thoroughly. Time is of the essence for changing directions. Edward Thorpe considered that he had done everything he could in his field. He figured out how to trick the system. He proved that mathematics is a great thing that everyone needs. So, he decided to rid himself of the status of the casino genius.
After the release of the book, Thorpe found himself in the financing, started investing, and successfully began to increase his income.
The professor himself shared with journalists that finance is not so much fun. However, money is not people, so no one else threatens to meet the professor in a dark alleyway.

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