darkoz
darkoz
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April 3rd, 2021 at 8:04:02 PM permalink
I was wondering what the general consensus was especially here amongst mathematicians about John Scarne.

Is he in disrepute as a mathematician and gambling expert? Or still considered an authoritative source

Apparently he believed card counting didn't work and tried to prove it but was unsuccessful.

Does this one gaff on his part make all his work worthless?

I'm looking into something Scarne wrote but if the general consensus is his math and analysis was overly faulty I won't waste my time
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ChumpChange
ChumpChange
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April 3rd, 2021 at 8:12:24 PM permalink
He was a big name back in the day but what were the rules of blackjack in Vegas in 1947?
darkoz
darkoz
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April 3rd, 2021 at 8:23:00 PM permalink
Quote: ChumpChange

He was a big name back in the day but what were the rules of blackjack in Vegas in 1947?

. I don't know but he was publishing into the sixties I believe.

He challenged Thorp directly in a card counting challenge but Thorp refused since Scarne insisted he deal. Scarne was recognized as a card manipulator so Thorpe was wisely hesitant to allow him a dealing position in a wager
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee
unJon
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April 3rd, 2021 at 9:40:07 PM permalink
Curious of the answer to this question. I read many of his books decades ago and learned a lot from them. His opening chapter in Scarne on Cards about the “Scarne Effect” where he can just cut all four aces after rifle shuffling the deck is one of my favorite card stories.
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but that is the way to bet.
billryan
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April 3rd, 2021 at 9:54:49 PM permalink
A guy named Zen Grifter once told me Scarne was right about a lot of other games but off the mark with his BJ strategy. Others on that forum agreed with him.
All I know is Scarne claimed to have developed a winning BJ formula and that it was distributed to millions of GIs overseas. I've never seen a copy and last I heard one had never turned up. Perhaps that has changed over the years.
Scarne came up with his strategy before there were computers capable of simulating tens of thousands of games so he seems to have been wrong on some fairly close decisions.
I'd say he was self-promoter first, an entertainer second, and a gambling expert third.
Mission146
Mission146
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April 4th, 2021 at 4:12:09 AM permalink
Quote: darkoz

I was wondering what the general consensus was especially here amongst mathematicians about John Scarne.

Is he in disrepute as a mathematician and gambling expert? Or still considered an authoritative source

Apparently he believed card counting didn't work and tried to prove it but was unsuccessful.

Does this one gaff on his part make all his work worthless?

I'm looking into something Scarne wrote but if the general consensus is his math and analysis was overly faulty I won't waste my time



Since you asked:

https://wizardofvegas.com/articles/people-in-gambling-two/
Vultures can't be choosers.
Hunterhill
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April 4th, 2021 at 4:38:58 AM permalink
Quote: darkoz

I was wondering what the general consensus was especially here amongst mathematicians about John Scarne.

Is he in disrepute as a mathematician and gambling expert? Or still considered an authoritative source

Apparently he believed card counting didn't work and tried to prove it but was unsuccessful.

Does this one gaff on his part make all his work worthless?

I'm looking into something Scarne wrote but if the general consensus is his math and analysis was overly faulty I won't waste my time


Scarne’s blackjack strategy is wrong as were many others from the 40s and 50s but he never updated his once correct basic strategy was known.
The mountain is tall but grass grows on top of the mountain.
Mission146
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Thanks for this post from:
MrCasinoGames
April 4th, 2021 at 4:49:22 AM permalink
Quote: Hunterhill

Scarne’s blackjack strategy is wrong as were many others from the 40s and 50s but he never updated his once correct basic strategy was known.



Here's the thing: Scarne did his magic tricks, analyzed casino games (many correctly), wrote about general math, studied games outside of the casinos (such as literal carnival games) to see in what ways they were gaffed or could be gaffed, did the math and came up for strategies for non-gambling card games...etc.

In other words, he did a lot!

Thorp was a Blackjack card counter and wrote about that. He was one of the first widely-known ones, if not the first.

So, Scarne does this sort of stuff in more general terms and he was proven wrong in one of his assertions by a specialist. I'd like to think that being wrong about one thing doesn't invalidate a lifetime of work----especially not in anything math-related! Math is either correct or it is incorrect. You miss one sometimes.
Vultures can't be choosers.
darkoz
darkoz
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Thanks for this post from:
Mission146MrCasinoGames
April 4th, 2021 at 6:08:28 AM permalink
Quote: Mission146

Here's the thing: Scarne did his magic tricks, analyzed casino games (many correctly), wrote about general math, studied games outside of the casinos (such as literal carnival games) to see in what ways they were gaffed or could be gaffed, did the math and came up for strategies for non-gambling card games...etc.

In other words, he did a lot!

Thorp was a Blackjack card counter and wrote about that. He was one of the first widely-known ones, if not the first.

So, Scarne does this sort of stuff in more general terms and he was proven wrong in one of his assertions by a specialist. I'd like to think that being wrong about one thing doesn't invalidate a lifetime of work----especially not in anything math-related! Math is either correct or it is incorrect. You miss one sometimes.



This is a good point!

Scarne supposedly dug in his heels though.

When Einstein came out with his theory of relativity he was refuted by a number of scientists. However when certain proofs made it evident those scientists admitted they were wrong and he was right.

Scarne seems to have done himself a disservice by refuting card counting even with evidence presented.
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee
Mission146
Mission146
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Thanks for this post from:
darkozMrCasinoGames
April 4th, 2021 at 6:26:21 AM permalink
Quote: darkoz

This is a good point!

Scarne supposedly dug in his heels though.

When Einstein came out with his theory of relativity he was refuted by a number of scientists. However when certain proofs made it evident those scientists admitted they were wrong and he was right.

Scarne seems to have done himself a disservice by refuting card counting even with evidence presented.



Thanks for saying so! I think you might like my article if you haven't read it.

He did dig in his heels and was astoundingly wrong. He'll hardly be the first person who was ever erroneously convinced of the rightness of his own positions.

Think about it this way: At the time, card counting was a relatively new concept. As mentioned, Thorp was one of the first people to become a well-known card counter (if not the first) and write about it. On the other hand, gambling systems have existed probably since gambling. Scarne probably thought of card counting as a sort of gambling system, so he set about trying to disprove it from the position that it was absolutely untrue.

Anyway, that's the sort of thing that's going to happen sometimes when you investigate a question already being firmly on one side or the other. You make omissions or outright mistakes. You fail to be objective. Well, now you have to defend what you have done---lots of people double down in that situation. The brain is all but hard-wired not to want to be wrong about stuff, psyche tends not to like that, especially when, like Scarne, you're considered an expert in the field.

I tend to think that's basically what happened. He either did not reinvestigate the question of deck composition thoroughly enough, or he simply couldn't bring himself to admit that he was massively wrong about something math-related.

Either way, still doesn't discredit everything he ever did.
Vultures can't be choosers.

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