Edward Oakly Thorp was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 14 August 1932.
Besides being a maths professor, he’s also a blackjack player and a hedge fund manager.
Among his accomplishments was creating a wearable device that uncovered mathematical advantages at Blackjack tables. Using card counting techniques, he also proved that a player could remove the house advantage in blackjack.
During the Early Years
Thorp earned his PhD in 1958 after studying mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1959 to 1961, his job was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Between 1961 and 1965, he taught mathematics at the New Mexico State University. Between 1965 and 1982, he was a Professor of Maths and Finance at the University of California.
Here, Thorp was able to work out his blackjack theories using an old IBM computer.
The game of blackjack
He started playing blackjack in Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Las Vegas to test his theories. His winnings in the first week came to $11 000. Additionally, he assembled a successful Baccarat team.
While Thorp was at MIT, he met Claude Shannon, who developed the wearable computer alongside Thorp, and they wore it while playing blackjack and roulette at various casinos.
Books about gambling
Thorp wrote the bestseller Beat the Dealer in 1966, which sold over 700,000 copies and made the New York Times bestseller list. He also wrote the book ” Beat the Market” in 1967, which was very successful.
Where is he now?
Thorp ran his hedge fund for 30 years. It was called Princeton Newport Partners and had been a popular hedge fund before it was disbanded. At the age of 89, Thorp is worth $800 billion, despite leaving the gambling world. With that kind of money, he will never need to gamble another day in his life!