How a team of MIT students beat the casinos
J Thoendell stashed this in Sports
When it comes to gambling, everyone knows the casino always comes out on top - right? But in the 1990s a group of students proved the punter didn't have to be the loser. This is the story of the MIT Blackjack Team.
Stashed in: Gambling!
How card counting works:
In blackjack, or 21, high cards favour the gambler, low cards the casino. So a card counter keeps a running tally in their head, adding 1 for low cards and subtracting 1 for high cards. When their tally increases (meaning more high cards than low ones are left in the deck) they know it's time to start placing higher bets.
Card counters won't win every time - they often lose a lot of money - but statistically, and over time, the odds are in their favour.
It has to be done secretly because although it's not illegal, casinos don't like it and have the right to refuse to let someone play.
It was researched in the 1950s by a mathematics professor from MIT, Edward Thorp, using some of the earliest computers.
In 1962 he published a book about it called Beat the Dealer and forever changed how the gambling public viewed blackjack.