1. Edward Thorp
If it weren’t for Edward Thorp, the world may not have even known about the phenomenon of counting cards. Although limited to 1960’s technology, Thorp took what he knew about counting cards and used the developing technology of computers in order to perfect the method. His card-counting skills got him banned from casinos in Las Vegas and Reno. After his money-growing stunts gathered attention, Thorp published his book, Beat the Dealer, which explains the best method of counting cards in order to win at Blackjack.
2. The Four Horsemen
Despite popular opinion, Edward Thorp did not invent counting cards, though he did perfect it with the help of computer technology. The proof lies within a book published in 1957, five years before Edward Thorp’s Beat the Dealer. This book is called Playing Blackjack to Win, and it was written by four mathematicians: Roger Baldwin, Herbert Maisel, James McDermott and Wilbert Cantey. This group’s system of counting cards is not as thoroughly honed as Edward Thorp’s, but it was designed without the help of computers.
3. Ken Uston
There have been many card counters since the method became known mainstream in 1962, but Ken Uston had a heavy hand in changing how casinos worldwide handle card counters. After being banned from casino after casino for the same set of tricks, Uston decided to retaliate. He successfully sued an Atlantic City casino for banning him. After all, he was just using his skills, not cheating at cards. To this day, Atlantic City casinos are not allowed to ban players for counting cards. On top of this, casinos all around the world have adopted using multiple card decks and shuffling often so that card counters do not bring down the business.
4. Keith Taft
With all of the extra card decks and near-constant shuffling, counting cards became much harder by the time Keith Taft came into the picture in 1970. To overcome this problem, Taft designed a portable computer that keeps track of cards as they are used. Because no one had tried it before, there were no casino rules against using such technology, but the casinos still wouldn’t let him come in with it, but he managed to find a way to smuggle the computer in and make money.
5. Tommy Hyland
Why play by yourself when so much more can be gained by teaming up? Tommy Hyland did just that when he brought together a group of card-counting blackjack players and set to work making a fortune. It’s unknown how much money the team has accrued, but Hyland claims the group jumped from $4,000 to $60,000 in the first month.