Edward O. Thorp

By | March 1, 2010

Edward O. Throp - Blackjack Hall of Fame

Edward Oakley Thorp is widely regarded, by professional players as well as the general public, as the Father of Card Counting. It was in his book, Beat the Dealer, first published in 1962, that he presented his Ten-Count system, the first powerful winning blackjack system ever made available to the public. All card-counting systems in use today are variations of Thorp’s Ten-Count.

When Thorp’s book became a best seller, the Las Vegas casinos attempted to change the standard rules of blackjack, but their customers would not accept the changes and refused to play the new version of the game. So, the Vegas casinos went back to the old rules, but switched from dealing hand-held one-deck games to four-deck shoe games, a change that the players would accept. Unfortunately for the casinos, in 1966 Thorp’s revised second edition of Beat the Dealer was published. This edition presented the High-Low Count, as developed by Julian Braun, a more powerful and practical counting system for attacking these new shoe games.

In 1961, Thorp and C. Shannon jointly invented the first wearable computer, a device that successfully predicted results in roulette. Thorp has an M.A. in Physics and a Ph.D. in mathematics, and has taught mathematics at UCLA, MIT, NMSU, and U.C. Irvine, where he also taught quantitative finance. For many years Ed Thorp wrote a column for the now-defunct Gambling Times magazine. Many of these columns were collected in a book titled The Mathematics of Gambling, published in 1984 by Lyle Stuart.

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