Gear up and join the Four Horsemen in the Blackjack Hall of Fame

Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott were known to Blackjack insiders as "The Four Horsemen". After inducting into the Blackjack Hall of Fame at the 12th annual Max Rubin, an invitation-only Blackjack dinner in Las Vegas in 2008, the Four Horsemen made their name by inventing what is said to be "how the game should be played".

Gear up and join us as we discover who the Four Horsemen really are, so that when you play Betfair Blackjack online, can use inspiration from your strategy to see if you could be the next player in your own Hall of Fame.

Roger Baldwin

While serving in the US Army in the mid-1950s, Baldwin created the first blackjack strategy that was needed. He had a master's degree in mathematics from Columbia University, which inspired him to think about the mathematics behind the game while playing in the barracks. When his hands could no longer follow his mind, he got permission to borrow one of the Army's calculators so he could master his work. He then joined other 'Knights' to complete the strategy, which was then published as an 11-page article called The Optimized Strategy in Blackjack in September 1956.

Wilbert Cantey

Cantey started out wanting to be a priest, but was encouraged to abandon that dream because of his card-playing habits. He continued to pursue a career in mathematics, but life had other ideas and he found himself joining the army in the mid-1950s, where he met Rodger Baldwin and the rest of the group.

Herbert Maisel

After his Army career, Maisel became a professor of computer science at Georgetown University. Alongside the other Knights, Maisel is credited with creating the first accurate Blackjack strategy.

James McDermott

James McDermott was also inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2008 for using his mathematical talents, with just a pen, paper and a simple Army calculator to perfect the Knights' strategy, which was later published in a book called 'Paying for Winning Blackjack: A New Strategy for the 21' Game in 1957. After serving in the Army, he became an executive at the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

The Strategy

The Four Knights discovered the first legitimate card counting system, which gave the player an edge over the house. It took a total of two years to perfect his calculations by hand, which was later proved on computers that his strategy was virtually perfect.

When professional blackjack player Arnold Snyder put his strategy to the test, he found that his continue/stop strategies for both heavy and light hands were 100% accurate. He used their recommendations that heavy hands of 12 should continue against two and three, and that light hands of 18 should only follow against 9 and 10, to improve his own playability.

Other professional gamblers believe that if it weren't for the Four Horsemen, no one else would be in the Hall of Fame, as they really figured out the best way to play Blackjack.


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