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Edward Thorp

How Thorp Started

August 14, 1932, in the Windy City, Edward Thorp made his appearance in the world. He grew up to do many things. Besides being one of the most popular Blackjack names in history, Thorp taught Mathematics and managed a hedge fund. Most people know him best for his book, "Beat the Dealer," which details the secrets to success at the Blackjack table, found in card counting.

Thorp was not a genius, though. He just worked hard. Hours were invested in testing mathematical equations and learn more about probability. All this was meant to perfect card counting, and when Thorp felt like he had learned enough he decided to test his theories, with the help of Manny Kimmel, a wealthy gentleman affiliated with the Mafia. They headed to Reno, Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. After just one weekend, they had turned ten thousand dollars into over twenty thousand, though they had to field irate casino owners who, after catching on to them, starting kicking them out.

He's Unstoppable

The only solution was to go incognito, and that's what Thorp did. He also carried the first portable computer, a collaboration between himself and someone else. Back in those days, tricks like this made countless millions, but computer use in gambling is under a lot of restriction now. Thorp used his computer for both Blackjack and Roulette.

Another thing that had people out to get Thorp was his book. It was frowned on to try to outsmart casinos.

Thorp risked it though, all the while claiming his interests were solely academic. Right.

We have to admire Thorp, though, because he obviously had something between his ears, and that's what got him into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. He helped develop modern Blackjack and taught players how to think smart. Few Blackjack players have attained Hall of Fame status, and that by itself shows he was different from the average player.

An interesting thing to note is that Thorp eventually decided that he'd had enough of casinos, he'd been kicked out enough. Either he did enough mathematical experimentation or made enough money- your call. He decided to go the safer route of stock market investment and philanthropy. Thorp was indisputably a noteworthy mathematics professional and a great Blackjack player- quite a good combination, judging by the million dollar benefits.