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Edward Thorp

Edward Oakley Thorp is an American professor of mathematics and also an avid blackjack player. He was responsible for pioneering research on the probability theory being applied in a modern setting. To be specific, he has utilized his research discoveries to improve financial gain using small correlations.

In his book "Beat The Dealer" published in 1962, he was able to prove that you can overcome the house advantage in a game of blackjack through the use of card counting. He also invented the hedge fund technique and used it on a financial market.

Thorp earned his PhD in 1958 from the University of California in Los Angeles, and then worked as MIT for over 2 years. He became a mathematics professor at the New Mexico State University until 1965, and then joined the faculty of the University of California in Irvine.

More Research on Blackjack

Thorp's commitment to use computer-aided research for the game of blackjack is not entirely new. Many have attempted to unravel the secrets behind success in this game but only few were as successful as Thorp in doing so.

He used the IBM 704 as a tool for his research to look more closely into the probabilities of winning in a game of blackjack. His blackjack game theory was derived from the Kelly criterion and also studied more about FORTRAN to determine the equations he can use to back up his theoretical research. He developed his own card-counting schemes in his research to determine how he can improve the odds of winning in blackjack.

Applied Research

Thorp traveled to Reno and Lake Tahoe in Las Vegas to test how well his theory will work when used in an actual gambling scenario. He used $10,000 to test his research, with which money a wealthy professional gambler Manny Kimmel has lent him.

They began testing the theory at some of the well-known casinos in Lake Tahoe and Reno. The results of his theory proved quite a success when they played blackjack. And the best part about his wins using the theory that Thorp had developed is that it never drew attention from security or management officials of the casino. It therefore means that once you are able to use the theory in a discreet manner, then it would be easy to win an unlimited amount of money and in succession.

The theory that Thorp had developed therefore gained attention in the gambling community since many were interested to use it. In doing so, Thorp became an instant celebrity among those who were die-hard blackjack players.

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