Edward O Thorp


Dr. Edward O Thorp was born in 1932 in Chicago and was a professor, author and an avid blackjack player. He is mostly known for his book Beat the Dealer in 1962 which was the first book ever which proved that it was possible to beat the casinos at blackjack by using card counting methods.

Edward O Thorp had worked for a few years in MIT as a professor. He had used various techniques and computer methods to investigate and research for his book while he developed his blackjack theory. His theory had been based on the now famous Kelly Criterion about which he had learned in 1956. Later, he decided to test his theory in the real world casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno.

He started his research with a capital of $10,000 along with Manny Kimmel, a professional gambler who provided the capital for the project. Dr. Thorp visited casinos in Lake Tahoe and Reno where they applied the theory at the blackjack table. The results were quite impressive and they research was successful. He had managed to win $11,000 in just a weekend.

However, in Las Vegas the casino staff had been quite suspicious which resulted in expulsions from the casinos where he had visited earlier. Thorp is even known to have used various disguises in order to hide his true identity.

Beat the Dealer

Very soon news spread in the gambling world and players were soon eager to learn the new found method of winning at the tables. Edward O Thorp soon became a known name in the blackjack world. Due to the response he received from players, he wrote Beat the Dealer in 1962 which was a manual on card counting, considered to be the first ever of its kind.

The book sold 700,000 copies instantly and was a huge hit. Thorp had once stated that he had considered the research to be an exercise which was academic in nature. He was also the first person ever to use a computer as an aid in developing gambling strategies.

While teaching at MIT, Thorpe met Claude Shannon along with whom he took many weekend trip to Vegas during which he had been quite successful. He had his own roulette team and was the first time a wearable computer was used in a computer, which has since then been declared illegal.

Because of his research and his contribution to the field, Edward O Thorp had been among the original individuals who had been inducted in the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

MIT Techniques

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Card Counting

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MIT Members

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