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Best of John G. Brokopp

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The Changing Face of Casino Blackjack

11 April 2000

No casino table game has undergone as many changes through the years as blackjack. What was once perceived by casinos as a game of chance took on a whole new perspective back in 1962 when Edward O. Thorp, a professor of mathematics at the University of California at Irvine, published Beat The Dealer.

Thorp proved that playing blackjack using the principles of mathematics made the game beatable. His findings made casinos change the way the game was played. Single-deck games vanished. Multi-deck games using four, six, and eight decks popped up everywhere. Thorpe's basic strategy is still the standard by which blackjack is played.

The casinos, ever protective of their profits, were not going to let players get the jump on them! Once the game's vulnerabilities were exposed, there was a mad rush to change the rules. Multiple deck games, automatic shuffling machines, and the practice of keeping as many as two decks out of play on any one shuffle have considerably compromised the situation.

Even in its present form, blackjack is still perceived as a beatable game by many experts, who continue to write books on the subject. Playing the game according to basic strategy cuts the house edge to such an extent that it's still one of the best games in the house to play. Employing various card counting techniques can reduce the house advantage even further.

Whatever success you have at blackjack is directly proportional to the degree of seriousness with which you approach it. To enjoy success over the long run, using basic strategy is a must. It's possible to become a real student of the game and spend hours upon hours studying and practicing card counting.

Serious blackjack players are the ones who can enjoy a decided edge. As a matter of fact, if they were the only ones playing the game at casinos across the country, blackjack would disappear from casino floors. The fact that so many people do not play correctly, or simply approach it as a game of chance, keeps the profit margin up. This factor also keeps the built-in edge that the house enjoys inflated above what it could be at optimum play.

There have been more books written about blackjack than any casino game, simply because there is real playing strategy. As for the other games, such as craps and roulette, about all that be written along the lines of strategy is in reality money management techniques in disguise.

For more information about blackjack, we recommend:

Best Blackjack by Frank Scoblete
The Morons of Blackjack and Other Monsters! by Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Blackjack! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp