If you ask any blackjack professional which book was most outstanding on their paths to becoming professional gamblers, most will name Edward O. Thorp‘s Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty One. Beat the Dealer was the first book that used mathematics to prove that blackjack was a beatable game and that, with the proper card counting strategy, the player could overcome the odds and beat the dealer.
Thorp got involved in the world of blackjack as a professor at MIT. He and one of the other professors would take frequent weekend trips to Las Vegas, playing blackjack and doing research. Thorp used the trip to perfect his card counting systems, the Simple Point-Count System and the Complete Point-Count System, which he published in his book. Thorp put his methods to the test with a $10,000 bankroll in Nevada to prove that his card counting methods worked. He published his findings in his book.
Without Thorp’s Beat the Dealer, blackjack strategy and card counting would not be what it is today. These days there are many different card-counting systems, but nearly all of them originated from Thorp’s Point-Count system and nearly all professional blackjack card counters have read Thorp’s book.
Edward Thorp has been applying his knowledge of statistics and probability to areas other than blackjack as well. He has made a fortune in the stock market as well. However, blackjack is close to his heart. He has published hundreds of articles on the subject as well as a variety of other books. Thorp’s other publications include Beat the Market, The Gambling Times Guide to Blackjack, and Elementary Probability and the Mathematics of Gambling.