Have More Fun and Win More Money Playing
SHORT HISTORY OF THE GAME
Just when and where the game of blackjack got started is a matter of
great conjecture among people who worry about that sort of thing. Some
books will tell you the game started in Italy; others insist it was in
France and there are even others who are convinced the game's origin
lies in the mysterious and inscrutable nature of the Chinese dynasties.
Blackjack writer John Scarne says there are some references to a card
game involving 21 points as early as 1570; and he says The American
Hoyle of 1875 contains one of the first references to the game as we
Despite all the disagreements, this much is known for certain: around
the turn of the 20th century, blackjack was for the most part a private
game played in individual homes. Scarne (and early newspaper accounts)
indicate that around 1910 in the Midwest, various "casinos" developed
and while they were, for the most part, booking centers for horse
racing, many included table games to keep the patrons occupied. One of
those games was blackjack, and in the "casinos" of the Midwest
(especially the horse rooms in an near Evansville, Ind.) the popularity
of blackjack began to grow.
But the game¹s popularity really began asserting itself in the
1950s, when legal gambling spread to the deserts of Nevada. In fact, in
"The Gambling Times Guide to Blackjack", there's a section and a chart
or two devoted to various scientific research programs that
statisticians and even physicists developed about blackjack. No kidding.
For instance, back in 1954 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New
Mexico, apparently some scientists there (no doubt bored with building
atomic weapons) began working on computer programs that would examine
the various chances of beating a blackjack dealer with various
blackjack hands. And the guys at Los Alamos weren't the only bored
scientists to take a gander at blackjack odds and theories.
That same book lists research projects at (and I am not making this
up!): The Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1956; the General Dynamics Corp.
from 1954 to 1957; the Univac Corp. in Los Angeles in 1959; Dr. Edward
O. Thorp at MIT in 1959; some scientists at North Carolina State
University in 1974 and on and on. The scientists used everything from
desk calculators to IBM, Univac, and Remington-Rand computers. And you
thought this was just a simple old card game, right?
Not so. These guys developed charts which listed the various advantages
or disadvantages to the blackjack player holding certain cards against
the dealer's various up - that means visible to the players - cards.
They also calculated the effectiveness of a variety of card-counting
schemes. And in the last twenty years, there have been literally dozens
of card-counting schemes, plans, systems, and programs.
So lets stop right here once again and repeat our position concerning
card counting: Forget about it! Just remember, if you can count cards
in a six or eight-deck blackjack shoe, then you don't need to be
playing games. As I've said before, you need to be working for the
government at NASA or maybe the CIA.
Card counting is
complicated. Card counting is confusing. And card counting with
multi-deck shoes is, to my way of thinking, a waste of time and brain
power. And don't take my word for it. Visit your local bookstore and
take a gander at the other blackjack books on the market. They are
filled with chart after chart telling you how to count the cards, which
cards are plus 1 and which are minus 1 and which are zero and when to
do this and when to do that and, man, you'd better be a drop-dead
genius if you want to follow all those instructions. Kind of takes the
fun out of it, don't you think?
Learning basic blackjack skills is one
thing. And believe me, that's
not an easy, overnight kind of thing to do. There are about 550
different plays to memorize, and we get around to talking about all
those in the book. That's difficult enough. All the other stuff is, if
not outright unnecessary, at least superfluous. In other words, with my
theory of money management and wager management, you don't need to be a
card counter to "Beat 'Em At Their Own Game."
But back to the history lesson for a moment. It wasn't until all these
scientists and statisticians and other bean-counter types got through
playing with their computers that other normal people like you and me
decided that, hey, if it's enough to interest all those eggheads, then
maybe blackjack is a game we out to try and play.
Sure enough, about three decades ago people starting looking at the
game really hard. There are all kinds of legends and myths about
blackjack players suddenly showing up in 'Vegas with a system and
winning hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of those stories are, no
doubt, true. But many of them have more than likely been embellished
with the fine polish of time. Sure, I suppose some people made a
fortune at the tables after the computer whizzes said blackjack could
be beaten. But the days of the quick road to blackjack riches
are over, if they were ever really there in the first place.
Now, I'm not a history major and that's probably more than you care to
know about how this game got started. But knowledge never hurts: the
more we know the better people we become, generally. And besides, on
those days when the cards don¹t go your way, maybe you can
take some solace in the notion that for several hundred years, people
have had the occasional run of bad cards and lost a dollar, a peso, a
lira, a franc, a yen, a mark or a pound or two playing blackjack.
Nevertheless, the truth is you CAN win at the blackjack tables and it
doesn't matter if those tables are in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Reno,
Laughlin, Tunica, Biloxi or on any of the hundreds of floating casinos
that have been launched in recent years. In fact, there are now over
2,500 casinos in this country. There are thousands more throughout the
world, and the basic strategy and money and wager management programs
you'll learn about in this little book will help you "Beat 'Em At Their
Own Game" at all these places.
So get busy!