Donald MacKenzie, An Engine, Not A Camera, MIT Press, 2006, p. 125:

    After 30 hours of blackjack, Thorp’s $10,000 had become $21,000. He went on to devise, with computer scientist William E. Walden of the nuclear weapons laboratory at Los Alamos, a method for identifying favorable side bets in the version of baccarat played in Nevada.

    Thorpe found, however, that beating the casino had disadvantages as a way of making money. At a time when American casinos were controlled by organized criminals, there were physical risks. (In 1964, while playing baccarat, Thorp was nearly rendered unconscious by “knockout drops” in his coffee).

A parable of theory and practice, knowledge and power, the intellectual in the real world, etc. If Thorp had been allowed to continue, eventually he would have owned the whole city of Las Vegas, but somehow that didn’t happen. How counterintuitive!

Of course, if Thorp had been playing against The State, or against Microsoft, things would have turned out entirely differently, since those are both law-abiding entities. That’s where his mistake lay.

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