Saturday, May 25, 2024

“21” Movie – The mathematics behind card counting


Over the years, there have been several casino-themed movies that have rocked the big screens, but only a few had a lasting impression like “21.” It isn’t easy to find an ardent blackjack lover that is yet to see the movie. The movie doesn’t just inspire a lot of people to try out blackjack on online sites such as red kings casino. It has also increased the curiosity in many people, some of which had never heard about the card counting strategy before. Others who know the system didn’t pay much attention to it before the movie.

21, the movie sparked up conversations that have been long gone, as many people had concluded that card counting or card reading, as some people call it, in blackjack was a myth. The primary factor that makes 21 and the concept of blackjack all believable is because the movie is said to be a true-life event.

However, the biggest takeaway from the movie is not only the excellent storyline but the mathematics behind the card counting that they used. There are different kinds of mathematical strategies that can be used for card counting, but some of the system’s origin can all be traced back to a 1962 book titled Beat The Dealer by Edward O.Thorpe.

Card Counting Strategies Used In The Movie

  1. Fibonacci Series: There are lots of indicators in the movie, 21, that suggests that the Fibonacci series is the card counting system that the MIT team used to carry out their operations. A good example is when Ben Campbell, one of the main characters in the movie, was celebrating his birthday, as the inscription on the cake says 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13.

To an average person, that’s just a random set of numbers. However, anyone that has read the book Liber Abaci by Leonardo Fibonacci, written as far back as 1202, will know for a fact that those numbers are the first terms of the Fibonacci series.

For this system, the calculation is built upon the first two numbers that pops up. In the case of Ben’s 21st birthday cake, the first numbers are 0 and 1. It is upon these numbers that you will build the foundation that will help you derive the others. You will sum up the previous two numbers in the series to get the next one. That is 0+1=1, which makes the sequence 0, 1, 1. The previous numbers now are 1+1=2. That takes the sequence to 0, 1, 1, 2. The next one will be 1+2=3, and then the series becomes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3. It goes on and on like that. The final numbers on Ben’s birthday cakes are 8 and 13, whose sum will be 21, the exact age that Ben Campbell was celebrating.

  1. Newton-Raphson Method: The reference to this Isaac Newton and Joseph Raphson’ Method was made in the movie when Professor Micky Rosa lectured the whole team about the roots of f(x). This method may be challenging for anyone that is not tactically sound when it comes to mathematical topics, as it requires a little bit of calculus and quadratic equations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Card Counting? 

  • How Does It Work?: Card counting may be possible, but it certainly is not an easy task to accomplish. To flawlessly execute the card reading strategy, you will need to have almost perfect memory and excellent power of deduction. You will also need utmost concentration skills, as you will have to pay attention to every move that the dealer makes. From the moment the card is shuffled to the opening rounds when the dealer dishes out cards to every player.

Then comes the main part of the card counting that requires you to assign a value to each card group. Cards from 2-6 are assigned a +1 value, cards from 7-9 are given 0, while cards like 10, J, K, Q, and A get -1. Once the dealer deals with the card, you will add the value according to the category it falls in. Eventually, you will streamline the available cards in the dealer’s hand.

  • Is It Legal?: Considering most laws guiding casino games in most places around the world, using a card counting system is not illegal in any way. However, a casino also holds the legal right to stop anyone from using the strategy in their hall. Perchance, if you can crack the card reading system and execute it flawlessly, it is essential to make sure you are subtle about it so as not to get caught.
Herbert Wise
Herbert Wise
Infuriatingly humble organizer. Entrepreneur. Zombie guru. Professional creator. Future teen idol.

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