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PostHeaderIcon To Predict Blackjack’s Future, You Should First Learn Its Past!

It has been said that the best way to foresee humankind’s future is to understand human nature and learn how it evolves. While some may find the statement farfetched, the truth is that people’s current needs, hopes and dreams are usually the foundation of the future. The theory is also applicable in the gambling industry, where both parties involved try to win money off each other. The affiliation between the player and the casino is not very different from interpersonal relationships and it will inevitably influence the future of the game. In the following article we will summarize the history of blackjack and will try to predict its future.

Blackjack was not always popular

In spite of the fact that casinos used to earn hefty sums of cash from blackjack players before the 60s, it wasn’t until the publishing of the classic book “Beat The Dealer” by Edward Thorp that the game captured the gamblers’ attention. Up to that point, people use to rely on superstition, while winning was merely a matter of luck, so except for a few professional card players nobody really won at blackjack. The book launched in 1962 brought a new perspective on blackjack and proposed a basic strategy that could considerably boost your chances of winning.

Blackjack exploded in the next decade

With Thorp becoming an international personality and his book a bestseller, casinos became terrified by the fact that soon many of their customers will learn the system and start winning huge amounts of cash. Therefore, most of the gambling establishments at the time decided it is time to take some drastic measures and immediately changed blackjack rules, bringing an even larger overbalance in their favor. However, with most customers refusing to play with such disadvantageous rules, the casinos were forced to restore the traditional set.

Needless to state that the minute the casinos switched back to the old rules, the loyal clients came rushing back to try their luck at blackjack. In fact, the strategy attracted quite a bunch of new gamblers who sincerely thought they could beat the dealer and become rich overnight simply because they read one book. In reality, blackjack players were still losing the same incredible amounts of cash as before and, given the higher number of players who were interested, the casinos’ profits increased exponentially.

The problem back then wasn’t the strategy proposed by Thorp, but rather the fact that most people who read his book didn’t understand squat from the how the calculations worked. Moreover, players who managed to read the entire book, didn’t master the calculation system thoroughly. This is why in 1966 Thorp published a reedited version of his guide where readers could find a simplified calculation system. The re-edited version of “Beat The Dealer” along with several other books on blackjack has propelled the game to incredible lengths, so high that soon casinos were forced to set more and more tables to accommodate all blackjack aficionados.

Playing blackjack in the 70s

While there were numerous books on how to win at blackjack published in the 1970s, only two of them managed to take the game to a whole new level. Stanley Roberts’ “Winning Blackjack” and Lawrence Revere’s “Playing Blackjack as a Business” were actually very popular readings back then and, judging by the casinos’ reactions, the books that altered the game’s fate.

It didn’t take long before the exciting game of blackjack captured the attention of the scientific community and in 1974, a team of computer programmers came up with an effective and still popular strategy, namely the famous Hi-Opt I. The latter system was huge and many of the professional card players of the time decided to trade Revere’s system for HI-Opt I not only due to its overall simplicity, but also thanks to its effectiveness.

Average gamblers were also fond of the new system, although many of them reported that they used Hi-Opt I and Revere’s system along with Thorp’s basic strategy. On a side note, despite the author’s huge investment into advertising, Stanley Roberts’ system was not the success he hoped for and was mostly employed by amateurs

As paranoia was once more wreaking havoc among gambling establishments, casino owners concluded that the only way to keep their leverage and continue making huge profits is to bend the rules a bit. Unlike in the 1960s episode of major rule changing, this time they were more subtle and introduced multi-deck blackjack. The multiple decks blackjack is still played nowadays and you will have to go to great lengths to find a casino offering single-deck blackjack.

Ken Uston and the new era of blackjack

The Hi-Opt I system’s efficiency was amazing and there were numerous success stories from that time to attest it. Perhaps the most famous tale is the one of Ken Uston and his companions who managed to make over one million dollars from blackjack. As you can read in his book, “Big Player”, Uston is the type of gambler who fully understood the mechanics of blackjack, knowledge that actually got him thrown out from several casinos in Las Vegas.

Uston’s team playing scared gambling establishments once again and determined them to bend the blackjack rules even further in their favor. After realizing that team of players could easily override the house advantage, casinos have switched from two-deck blackjack to four, six and even eight-deck blackjack.

Not only did this decision make the game too difficult for the average player, but some casinos have even taken it a step too far when they started to cut most of the cards out of the play. Blackjack fans were outraged considering that such doubtful practices didn’t just pose a card availability problem, but also raised suspicions on crooked gambling practices. In short, you have no way of telling if cards were added or withdrawn from the game at convenient times.

Following in Uston’s footsteps

It is often said that where’s a will, there’s a way. With team playing banned from the casinos, gamblers soon found other ingenious methods to tip the scales in their favor. However, their tremendous success has also determined immediate reactions from gambling establishments and even courts of law. Let’s take Keith Taft’s case for instance, the first and last player who brought a pocket computer to use when playing blackjack. Hilarious as it may sound, Taft determined the Nevada State Court to break the record on the quickness of adopting of statute. While Taft and his legal team contested the constitutionality of the court’s decision, you are still not allowed to carry a pocket computer with you when entering a casino.

A further noteworthy attempt of balancing house advantage came from Tommy Hyland, whose complicated tracking system could only be countered with the invention of the shuffle machines. Ironically, even the fast shuffle machines were outwit relatively soon by Stanford Wong, the man who figured out how these expensive units worked. Casinos were watching helplessly as each of their strategies was crumbling to the ground one by one.

The only solution the casinos could think off at the time was the introduction of new varieties of blackjack. However, this method didn’t prove too efficient either because there was always some professional out there who found the way to beat the house. Moreover, there was always a chance that nobody was interested in playing the new blackjack version. Up to the present day, a small percent of professional card players still win and will continue to win huge sums of cash at blackjack, relying on new methods and techniques that are constantly being developed.

While the cat and mouse game between casinos and professional card players continues, you might be tempted to believe that blackjack has become out of reach for the average player who wants to have a little fun every now and then. However, nothing can be further from the truth especially since with the development of the internet everyone has access to the same information as the profs. And rest assured, the internet is filled with tons of guides regarding both the theoretical and practical aspects of the game. As a matter of fact, you can even find mathematical models to help you win at blackjack in various scientific reviews.

The future of blackjack

Considering the evolution of blackjack up to this day and the gambling establishments’ prompt reactions, it should come as no surprise that playing and winning at blackjack will become increasingly difficult in the future. However, judging by the professional card players’ attitude, it is safe to assume that making the rules more difficult will only result in more determination on the part of the players, who will be work harder and harder to beat the system.

Even as you are reading this, there are surely several blackjack pros working on new game systems that could prove to be online and offline casinos’ newest headache. Therefore, if you are new to blackjack or are considering playing it full time, don’t lose hope. Browse through as many blackjack strategies as possible, test them and stick with the one that you feel works best for you.

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