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The Beginnings of Chemin de Fer

February 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The card game of chemin de fer was introduced to the United States of America in the 19th century but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that a technique was created to beat the house in chemin de fer. This material is going to grab a quick look at the creation of that strategy, Card Counting.

When casino gambling was approved in the state of Nevada in ‘34, black jack sky-rocketed into popularity and was usually played with 1 or two decks of cards. Roger Baldwin published a dissertation in ‘56 which described how to lower the house advantage built on odds and stats which was very complicated for players who were not mathematicians.

In 1962, Dr. Ed Thorp utilized an IBM 704 computer to enhance the mathematical strategy in Baldwin’s dissertation and also created the 1st card counting techniques. Dr. Thorp authored a book called "Beat the Dealer" which illustrated card counting techniques and the practices for lowering the house advantage.

This spawned a massive growth in chemin de fer gamblers at the US casinos who were attempting to put into practice Dr. Ed Thorp’s techniques, much to the awe of the casinos. The system was not easy to comprehend and hard to implement and thusly expanded the profits for the betting houses as more and more folks took to wagering on black jack.

However this huge increase in earnings was not to last as the gamblers became more highly developed and more insightful and the system was further refined. In the 80’s a group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology made counting cards a part of the everyday vocabulary. Since then the casinos have brought in numerous measures to thwart card counters including, multiple decks, shoes, constant shuffle machines, and rumour has it, complex computer software to observe body language and detect "cheaters". While not against the law being discovered counting cards will get you blocked from many brick and mortar casinos in vegas.

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