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When you sit down at a blackjack table to play, the house will have a small advantage over you if you do not implement some kind of strategy to balance the odds. This section will teach you how to do that. Do not skip this section and rush off to learn how to "beat the odds." Learning basic strategy is the first step toward becoming an expert blackjack player.
Remember our friends Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel, and McDermont?
They worked out -- painstakingly, since they lacked access to a high-speed computer -- a set of recommendation for the play of the game that were surprisingly close to today's basic strategy.
Edward O. Thorp, the MIT scientist who essentially invented card counting, had computational power at hand that Baldwin and his coworkers lacked. He used this power to carry out what is known as a "Monte Carlo" simulation of the game. A computer was programmed to play out tens of millions of hands of blackjack.
It was then used to analyze the outcomes and determine which circumstances tended to produce wins for the player and which tended to produce losses. He refined and sharpened the Baldwin et al. basic strategy based on these simulations.