Blackjack basic strategy was created in 1953 by a group of soldiers who were playing poker during their off duty time in the U.S. Army Barracks in Aberdeen Maryland. During this poker game someone asked to play Blackjack as their dealers choice. This caused a discussion to break out over what rules to use while playing Blackjack. One of the young private’s there who had a Masters Degree in mathematics from Columbia University got a great idea.
Roger Baldwin’s revelation was that if a certain set of rules were defined for the dealer you could very accurately calculate the probabilities of winning and losing in every situation. After that poker game he asked Wilbert Cantey an Army Sergeant if he could use the adding machines located on the army base during his off duty time to work out the optimal way to play Blackjack. Cantey also had a masters degree in mathematics and a very keen interest in gambling which had gotten him into hot water in the past.
Once Baldwin and Cantey realized they would need help working out all of the possibilities they approached Herbert Maisel and James McDermott. McDermott had a masters degree from Columbia and Maisel would later become a professor at Georgetown University. These four men would spend almost 2 years punching calculations into adding machines. When this great work was done Blackjack basic strategy was born.
In 1956 the four men publish their work in the Journal of the American Statistical Association. They also published their work in a book called Playing Blackjack To Win in 1957. Later on simulations with computers showed that this Blackjack basic strategy was virtually perfect.
The men later became known as the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen amongst the growing Blackjack community. Ironically none of them had actually used their basic strategy to play Blackjack. Instead they had done all of the time consuming calculations just for the intellectual challenge.
Since then others have continued to discuss and refine the Blackjack basic strategy calculations that these men created in 1956. Also new basic strategy was created for games similar to Blackjack. The Four Horsemen were eventually inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame for there great contribution to the game of Blackjack.