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Before Blackjack acquired its name, it was known as twenty-one. It’s believed to have originated from the French, as it was first seen being played in their casinos around 1700. To the French, it was known as Vingt-et-un, meaning ‘21’. Its popularity grew like wild fire and rapidly spread to North America through the French colonists and then to the rest of the continent respectively.
Born in the August of 1932, Thorp lived a typical life during his childhood and his early adult years, with one extraordinary exception – he was a mathematical genius. Excelling at his studies and obtaining his PhD, he then became a mathematics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), until 1961 when his fascination for Blackjack was realized.
Thorp was the first person to use computer programming for gambling purposes and later wrote a book which is about implementing mathematics into the game and beating the house. His strategies and stock market intuition has made him a very wealthy man. Read more on Wikipedia.
Made famous for his term Wonging, Stanford Wong (whose real name is John Ferguson), was a discontent teacher who asked Stanford University to pay him $1 for the term so he could skip staff meetings and head for the casino to chase his infatuation with gambling. His popular strategy, Wonging is when a player only joins the game when the odds are in his/her favor and leaves the game as soon the odds are against the player.
Wong published newsletters in print and more recently, through his web site.
Uston, like Thorp, was also a mathematical genius. At the age of 16 he was accepted into Yale University and later Harvard, where he received his MBA. After living a relatively normal life, he decided to put to use his talents in Blackjack and was later banned from casinos due to his strategies which beat the house on numerous occasions.
He was later banned from most casinos and resorted to disguising himself in order to chase his career in Blackjack and was able to still generate millions of dollars from these casinos. Sadly, Uston led a life of drinking and drugs – he was found dead in his apartment, due to a heart attack. Read more on Wikipedia