S: Card Counters by Emily Ritter
FC: Card Counters | By Emily Ritter
1: Everyone knows about the stories. People who go to Vegas and get rich counting cards, but this idea hasn't been here forever nor did it just spontaneously show up. Card counting has a fascinating history that very few people know about.
2: Dr. Edward O. Thorp is considered to be the "Father of Card Counting." Card counting did exist before him, but only a small number of the counters were successful. | Dr. Edward O. Thorpe
3: His book, Beat the Dealer, taught people the best mathematical ways of the time to count cards. These ways are no longer the best for many reasons.
4: Ken Uston | A graduate from Yale University, Ken Uston was the youngest vice-president of the Pacific Stock Exchange in it's history.
5: He worked on a blackjack team led by Al Francesco for a few years and then wrote a book about the entire experience leading to many of the people who worked with him getting banned from casinos. He then started a successful team of his own that won millions. He became so famous that he needed disguises to enter casinos.
6: Stanford Wong, whose real name is John Ferguson, invented the technique called "wonging." Wonging consists of not actually playing blackjack, but watching until the odds were good enough and then jumping in with high bets. | Stanford Wong
7: He was also one of the first to create software for blackjack. "Blackjack Analyzer", his program, was one of the first prototypes. In 1975 he published his book "Professional Blackjack."
8: The MIT Blackjack Team | The MIT Blackjack team was actually created in 1979. It's first attempt at taking a casino failed and all but two members of the team left. The professor at MIT enlisted the help of Bill Kaplan who found what went wrong at the casino (everyone was using different systems of counting). He came up with a common system and soon they were winning big.
9: The team expanded to nearly 80 players and went to casinos around the world. They split up into two teams, the reptiles and the amphibians. The teams were feared in casinos, but many players were caught and banned from the casinos. They were just replaced by new players though until the casinos found a way to ban them all. Their story is told in Bringing Down the House and 21.