Thorp managed to discover that owners of gambling houses gave their officials rather strict directions with regard to the strategies which they need to stick to in the match with visitors. Control over fulfillment of these directions had its initial purpose to keep from a frame up of a croupier together with the remaining gamblers, a chance of which could not be excluded. Imputed for a croupier strict rules establishing his game strategy really significantly reduced a chance of this kind of frame-up, but on the other hand, permitted an “advanced” gambler to fairly sufficiently show the essence of this strategy and efficiently oppose it.
For unlike a croupier a gambler needn’t reveal the first of the received cards, as well as is not enchained by any strict rules as regards his strategy, that’s why flexibly altering his behaviour he can mistake a croupier. For instance, Thorp found out that almost in all gambling houses of Nevada State croupiers were firmly ordered to keep away from a widow in case the total amount of points in his cards surpassed or was equal to 17, plus a player, from our mathematician’s point of view did not need to miss an opportunity to use the knowledge of even some facets of a croupier’s strategy for accomplishment of his purposes. Consequently, those edges which had an official of a gambling house from the start (as we already understand, he’s not obliged to open his cards at the end of the game), may be compensated to a certain level for the knowledge of a player about the tactical “tunnel vision” of a croupier.
Naturally, if a gambler had a good recollection he could alter his strategy determined by the understanding of the cards which had gone out of the match, and what cards could still be counted upon. It is necessary to not forget that a croupier himself who was to firmly follow the directions of the casino’s owners virtually without changing his strategy!
Thorp place himself a task to formulate the rules which might enable him to compute odds of taking out one or another card out of an incomplete pack. Understanding these odds a gambler could already with acceptable confidence draw cards from the widow without being too much fearful of “a pip out”, and furthermore, on the grounds of the knowledge of some facets of a croupier’s strategy to make suppositions about those cards which he’d, and other gamblers also. Naturally, as a gambler was to make a decision with regard to a widow really fast, the sought rules for calculation of chances were to be quite simple for a gambler to be able to utilize them “in mind” with the aid of neither a calculator, nor a pencil and paper (even if we suppose that a gambler will likely be given an opportunity to do calculation on paper, it’ll certainly arise suspicion). Edward Thorp managed to solve this mathematical problem having created fairly simple algorithms for calculation of probabilities of taking out of one or another card from a pack, and using them to build a strategy of the game of twenty one which would not be that complicated, letting a gambler to significantly raise his chances of winning!
Thorp taken the check and having learnt the formulated by him rules left for Nevada to attempt his discovery. The trial went good: less than after two hours Thorp won 17 thousand dollars.
Evidently, the owner of a gambling house did not share Thorp and his companion’s delight with regard to a successful comeout of the trial and the next day did his best to keep Thorp from joining in the match. Thorp needed to refuse from additional checking of the strategy developed by him”. Though “added checks” were “essential” merely to enrich the pockets of the talented mathematician. One could scarcely doubt that E. Thorpmanaged to create a real winning strategy!
However, since he could no longer benefit from his discovery himself, he decided to leave “welfare assistance” to his colleagues having published in 1961 a small article in an American academic journal (Thorp E.O. “A favourable strategy for twenty one”, Proc.Nat.Acad.Sci., 47, 110-112, (1961)). And despite the little size of the article and, thus, an extremely condensed form of persentment, made it comprehensible for quite a narrow group of professionals, one can be sure that several American scientists and their pals definitely “improved” their material scenario (owners of gambling houses were unlikely to read scientific magazines at that time).