Keith Taft, grandmaster of Blackjack

In the history of the casino and blackjack there are quite a few players who proved to be very successful at it. All of them are included in the Hall of Fame of this game.

One of the persons on this list is Keith Taft. Don’t know the man? Then read through his extraordinary story to find out more about him.

About the life of Keith Taft

Keith Taft was born in 1930 in Cut Bank, Montana. From a young age, he did nothing but invent and figure things out because this was his lust and his life. Once the ideas were in his head, there was nothing to stop him from putting them into practice.

During his school years he excelled in both music and physics and also taught them for some years but always knew that this was not his heart. He did not want to do this all his life. He got married and the family moved to California where he worked as an engineer but he didn’t really like that either.

Time to take a break

The work as an engineer meant long days for him and took its toll so that at some point he decided to leave his four children with their grandparents and go on a trip with his wife. During their trip, they visited a car museum where they were given tickets to gamble for free at the local casino. Spurred on by his wife, Taft decided to do just that. They started by playing on the slot machines and then did various games at tables with other participants together. However, luck was not really on their side and when they took their last seat at the Blackjack table, they ended up winning something.

Coming up with a strategy for Blackjack

On his way home, Keith Taft couldn’t think of anything else but the game of Blackjack and wanted nothing more than to come up with a good strategy to play it and win. He read everything there was to know about blackjack and strategies and learned how to count the cards himself, but this did not bring him the desired luck or big winnings.

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The Development of George

However, Taft did not give up and developed a device to count cards. This way he no longer had to do this himself and the device did it for him. The machine was given the name George and was, of course, tried out. Taft and his wives went to Reno and took George with them. In 1972, they used George as a tool at the Blackjack table in the casino and managed to win more often than they lost.

So the Blackjack computer developed by Taft proved to work. The casino began to keep a closer eye on the couple at one point because they were winning quite a bit but they did not discover that they were doing this with the help of George.

The development of David

After that, Taft did not deploy George at the casino (the device was also not particularly convenient to carry around due to its considerable weight) but did tell his story to the local media. He could have won much more with it but he didn’t go back to the casino with it. However, his story was noticed by one Ken Uston who asked Taft if he could develop the device further. Taft gave him permission to continue working on George.

This eventually resulted in the development of David. David is like George a Blackjack computer but pocket-sized so it is a lot handier to take to the casino to count cards during the game. David can of course also be used for Blackjack in an online casino. Maybe even more convenient because there they can’t see you’re using the device.

Nothing wrong with counting cards

It is obvious that Keith Taft was brilliant and that his invention was very clever. So if you’re not the biggest star at counting cards yourself, you can use a tool like George or David for that. Note, however, that although it is not forbidden by law, most casinos do not particularly like it when people count cards at blackjack. If they notice this, for example, because you are winning a lot, you may be asked to leave the casino and not come back.

You haven’t actually done anything wrong, but it can mean big losses for the casino if you use this strategy correctly. Not everyone is equally successful and it’s not exactly easy to learn to count cards correctly. At Holland Casino, they now use shuffling machines that make it impossible for players to count cards.