Blackjack has been the most popular casino table game since the early 1960s, when it became known that card counting could beat the game. Edward O. Thorp’s publication Beat the Dealer first posed a difficult but successful card-counting system, and from that point, the blackjack explosion commenced. The game soon eclipsed craps as the No. 1 table game in the casino, a position it still holds today.
Of the tens of millions of blackjack players since that publication, only a small percentage ever got good enough to beat the casinos at the game using traditional count systems such as Hi-Lo—but that didn’t stop the casinos from panicking in the first blush of the card-counting revolution.
So what happened? Players started to reduce their time at the tables, and many gave up the game completely. The casinos soon realized that a game that made them a lot of money was about to go down the drain. So they brought back the good rules and even continued offering excellent single- and double-deck games. The crowds returned, and blackjack sailed off into the sunset with tons of the players’ gold.
Blackjack players with long memories can recall the wealth of excellent blackjack games offered in the 1980s in Las Vegas. Just about every casino had them. On my first trip to Vegas, after years of playing in Atlantic City, my jaw dropped when I saw all those great single- and double-deck games
True, some excellent blackjack players did win money over the years, and a small fraction of those excellent players won a lot of money, but no one player and no one team won even a tiny Nano percentage of the heaping mountains of money the casinos were harvesting daily from the game. Blackjack profits soared, year after year after year…and then something happened