Is Blackjack "Winnable"?
Yes. It has been mathematically proven that, if
certain strategies are strictly adhered to, it is possible to consistently
win at Blackjack.
In the context of games of chance, a "winnable" game is one where
the player can, through following a certain strategy, push their odds of
winning above 50%, thus making money over the long term.
The first widely publicized Blackjack strategy was developed by Professor
EO Thorp and published in 1963 in his book called
"Beat the Dealer"
which made the New York Times best-seller list.
Players employing Thorp's strategy, based on counting fives, found they
had a 0.13% advantage.
He then went on to develop a second, more powerful strategy, based on counting
tens and demonstrated that the system "performed in practice just as the theory
on which it is based predicted it would." (Thorp, 1964.)
Dr. Thorp's research and publications changed the course of blackjack
In 1969, Lawrence Revere published a book called
"Playing Blackjack As a Business".
He improved on Thorp's strategy to develop his Revere Five Count, Plus-Minus, Ten
Count and Revere Point Count. The Revere Point Count was the most advanced card
counting strategy available at that time. His book was considered both accurate and
reliable and was re-published in eight revisions, most recently in 1998.
Lawrence Revere won consistently playing Blackjack and was eventually permanently
excluded from every gambling casino in Nevada.
Professor Peter A. Griffin also contributed substantially to the theory of card
counting. His book,
"The Theory of Blackjack"
published in 1979, remains the most
advanced Blackjack book ever written. It is a mathematically complex work, however
it is highly praised by serious players. Griffin's work considers the mathematics
of Blackjack, from card counting to playing multiple decks, rule variations, and the
consequences of card counting errors.
Another important figure in the history of Blackjack theory was Ken Uston. He used
sophisticated card counting techniques and won consistently by cooperating with a
team of players. He explained his methods in his book,
"Million Dollar Blackjack",
first published in 1981.
Using Uston's methods players could individually modify a team approach to avoid
suspicion. Uston showed that each team member's income would be greater by playing
in a team than playing alone. Additionally, Uston's Advanced Point Count was one
of the most powerful card counting strategies.
These researchers and other have shown that Blackjack is "winnable", however the
margin is quite small at only 0.5% - 1.5%. Nonetheless, a small margin can
translate to big earnings if rigorously adhered to.