Peter Griffin the Blackjack Player

When one thinks of a professional gambler, images of cowboy hats and six guns or tuxedos and martinis may come readily to mind. Peter Griffin, however, is one of many Blackjack legends whose profession does not seem to lend itself toward attracting the sort of individuals who would be drawn to the world of professional gambling: Peter Griffin was an accomplished professor of mathematics. He was, in fact, the grandson of famous mathematician Frank Loxley Griffin. Griffin's skills in mathematics, when applied to Blackjack would eventually make him one of the game's most well-known scholars and a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

Griffin showed an interest in the mathematics involved in gambling in 1970, when he proposed to teach a course on the subject at California State University, where he was a professor. His first trip to Las Vegas for research did not go well but Griffin, like any good scientist, decided to put more work into his theory.

Griffin compiled statistics on the game. It is from Griffin's extensive research that the standard house advantage of 2% over the player is calculated. His statistics compared players in Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City and are highly-regarded for their thoroughness.

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Though Edward Thorp published the first book that revealed the secrets of card counting, Griffin also published a book in 1978 that is nearly as coveted by players.

Griffin's writings on the subject of card counting are notable for being very heady and oriented toward individuals who have a strong grasp of mathematics at a minimum of a college level. His systems used different levels of counting. He was also able to very accurately project the actual advantage enjoyed by a player using any of the methods or multiple methods. His theory uses two factors to assess the value of card counting methods, the Betting Correlation and the Playing Efficiency. Players today are still able to assess their methods using his research without ever booting up a computer to do complex simulations.

Griffin published another book in 1991 that dealt with very detailed aspects of the mathematics of gambling. His work is painstakingly detailed and illustrated with charts and graphs throughout. The science behind games of chance was a lifelong passion of the professor's and his classes on the subject were very successful. The majority of his academic papers, in fact, dealt with the mathematics of gambling.

Griffin enjoyed a long career at California State University, starting in 1965 and teaching up until his death from prostate cancer in 1998. His work, theories and writing remain very popular and relevant today and are essential study for those who play Blackjack at a professional level. His work was and still is valued by casinos, who relied on his research, in great part, to calculate the advantages they would gain by implementing various anti-advantage play methods. Griffin earned his place among the best of the Blackjack world in 2003, when he was inducted into the Black Jack Hall of Fame.