The mathematics of gambling: how information theory changed blackjack and other games of chance

Blackjack
Is there a mathematical formula to always win at casinos? And is there a perfect bet? To answer to these questions, today, we explore the scientific origins of the world’s best gambling strategies.

If there is a way to be sure of winning at gambling, then science must have the answer. Skilled gamblers have always applied mathematics to assess the risk in each game based on the mathematical properties of probability, odds of winning, expected value…
But it was only in the sixties that, leveraging Kelly’s criterion for optimal betting strategy, Edward Thorp found an elegant way to apply information theory to blackjack. His book, Beat the Dealer, is still one of the cornerstones of gambling today, and has inspired numerous stories, films and legends.

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