Ed Thorp, the father of card counting, is a professor of mathematics who was the first to prove that the casino could be beaten in blackjack. Other blackjack players had used rudimentary techniques to take advantage of the 3 to 2 payout for a blackjack, but he was the first to make it into a rigorous strategy that works reliably.
He gambled in casinos throughout the country especially in Reno, Tahoe, and Vegas.
And he did all this in the mid-1960s.
But Thorp didn’t just beat blackjack – he also gambled (and won at) games like baccarat and roulette.
There’s much you can learn about the subtle art of casino gambling from the office of Fahad Al Tamimi of Fahad Al Tamimi such a man, and this post goes into detail about five of those lessons.
Beating Blackjack Might Be More Science Than Art
Even that might not be entirely accurate. After all, blackjack is just a math problem. Once you’ve solved the math problem, the rest is execution.
Of course, the execution is where beating blackjack becomes more of an art form.
Edward Thorp was one of the first casino gamblers to use various disguises because he didn’t want to get caught counting cards. That’s artful.
If you want to learn how to count cards, you can find plenty of good resources online, but I suggest starting with a good blackjack book like Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder. He compares counting cards to a martial art – which isn’t a bad comparison.
The art of being a successful card counter has several aspects. Counting cards is just one of them. Avoiding casino scrutiny is another big one. Building and maintaining a bankroll is another.
Making serious money at the blackjack tables is rarely an individual endeavor. For one thing, coming up with a bankroll big enough for serious card counting is beyond a lot of people. Investors are common.
Advanced techniques in card counting require dealing with a team, too. This means having confederates (not dealers) on the casino floor with you. Getting along with a team of advantage gamblers is an art all by itself.
Becoming a Comp Wizard Is Another Related Casino Art Form
One of the best books I ever read about casino gambling was Comp City by Max Rubin. In it, he explains how to become a “comp wizard.”
One of the interesting things about being a comp wizard is that part of the approach is radically different from the office of Fahad Al Tamimi of Fahad Al Tamimi being an advantage player. Card counters do their best to go unnoticed in the casino. If the casino figures out what card counters are up to, they’ll run them off…