History

The famous father of card counting is Ed Thorp. He is the man who single-handedly redefined the modern ways of counting cards. However, he is not the one who actually invented card counting. He was not the one who took advantage of the cards and numbers to take advantage of the house.

Winning that Blackjack game

There was a book published in 1957 known as Playing Blackjack to Win. This is a very important book because this was the very first one to be published on counting the cards in the game of blackjack 5 years before the iconic Beat the Dealer book of Ed Thorp.

The earlier book had a very small run and it offers 16 strategies to adjust your hand depending on the cards that are exposed. This method of card counting was a bit crude and it did not give an edge to the player since there were no recommendations to differ the sizes that are based on counts.

Characters before Thorp

Even Thorp admitted there were a number of personalities using various methods of beating the game and they have used very crude methods of counting the cards. They were given names such as Greasy John or System Smitty and they have unique methods that sadly got forgotten. Thorp did not focus on how they play but he pointed out that they know how to approximate the strategies. Smitty is a very progressive bettor.

One character, Jess Marcum was a Rand Corporation nuclear physicist and was also a professional gambler. He figured out a way to count cards around 1949 and he quit his job at the corporation by the 50s to be a full time professional blackjack player.

Another character is Harold Smith Sr. He is the author of the book I Want to Quit Winners. He also knew how to count cards and he always bet big bets if the deck is very rich in aces. The book was published around 1961 just a year before Beat the Dealer was published. In the 1930s, he owned the Smith's Club Casino in Reno.

Edward Thorp: Beat the Dealer

Thorp's book is undeniably the most iconic since this is the first mathematically structured and proven system and this book is the only one that is responsible in transforming this game into a famous industry filled with professional gamblers. He was an overnight success and he even struck fear among casino houses.