Who Was Lawrence Revere?

Lawrence Revere, born Griffith K. Owens but also known by various aliases including Paul Mann and Leonard “Specs” Parson, was a prominent figure in the world of blackjack. He left an indelible mark on the game through his card counting systems and writings. This article delves into the life and contributions of Lawrence Revere to the game of blackjack.

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Lawrence Revere | Early Beginnings and Career

Lawrence Revere’s remarkable journey in the world of blackjack began with humble yet pivotal experiences that would shape his future and revolutionize blackjack strategy.
At the tender age of 13, Revere found himself immersed in the world of cards and chips as he took up a role as a dealer in an unexpected place – the back room of a local barbershop. This seemingly unassuming setting was, in fact, a hotspot for informal blackjack and other casino games. It was here that Revere’s curiosity and fascination for the game first ignited. The barbershop, where customers came for haircuts and shaves, transformed into an informal gambling den in the back, offering a glimpse into the thrilling world of blackjack. Little did Revere know that this early exposure to the game would serve as the foundation for his lifelong passion and profound contributions to the field.

Mathematics and Blackjack

As Revere matured, he recognized the value of formal education in furthering his understanding of the intricate mathematics underpinning blackjack. To bolster his knowledge and skills, he enrolled at the University of Nebraska, where he pursued a degree in Mathematics. This academic endeavor would prove to be a pivotal step in his journey, equipping him with the analytical tools and mathematical acumen that would become invaluable in his later career.

The turning point

The turning point in Revere’s professional blackjack career occurred in 1943, against the backdrop of World War II. It was during this tumultuous period in history that he ventured into the world of casinos. His decision to immerse himself in the casino industry marked a significant transition, as he began to apply the mathematical insights gained during his academic pursuit to the dynamic and complex world of blackjack.

Lawrence Revere in the wartime era

The wartime era provided a unique backdrop for Revere’s entry into the casino scene. The atmosphere was distinct, with various social and economic factors in play. Revere’s skills and blackjack strategies would soon be put to the test in the high-stakes world of casino gambling, setting the stage for the development of his groundbreaking card counting systems and influential writings that would leave an indelible mark on the game of blackjack.

Lawrence Revere | Inventor of Popular Blackjack Card Counting Systems

Lawrence Revere was a dedicated card counter and a pioneer in the development of blackjack strategies. He collaborated with Julian Braun, who worked for IBM, a renowned computer company. Braun’s expertise in computers allowed them to simulate blackjack and develop strategies backed by solid mathematical analysis.

The collaboration between Revere and Braun was a groundbreaking moment in blackjack history. They used a high-speed computer to calculate over 9 billion blackjack hands, leading to the creation of more than 70 strategy charts based on the computer’s analytical data. While some of the information has become outdated due to changes in the casino industry’s approach to card counting, the impact of their work remains significant.

Some of the card counting systems Revere either invented or contributed to include:

  • Revere Point Count Strategy
  • Revere Advanced Point Count Strategy
  • Revere 14 Count Strategy
  • Revere Plus-Minus Count Strategy
  • Revere Five Count Strategy
  • Ten Count Strategy

Among these, the Revere Point Count Strategy, developed with Julian Braun, stands out as one of the most popular and effective strategies in blackjack.

The Book “Playing Blackjack as a Business”

One of Lawrence Revere’s most enduring contributions to the world of blackjack was his seminal book, “Playing Blackjack as a Business.” This literary masterpiece, first published in 1968, offered a treasure trove of insights into card counting and an array of strategies designed to tilt the odds in favor of the player.

Interestingly, when Revere initially released the book, he opted not to copyright it. This decision would have profound consequences for the world of blackjack literature and strategy. It was the astute observation of John Luckman, a former dealer and the visionary founder of Gambler’s Book Club, that led to a crucial turning point. Recognizing the value of Revere’s intellectual property, Luckman urged him to protect the book through copyright. This prescient move ensured that Revere’s pioneering methods and strategies would endure and remain accessible to future generations of blackjack enthusiasts.

Within the pages of “Playing Blackjack as a Business,” Revere did not merely scratch the surface of card counting; he delved deep into the intricacies of the practice. The book covers an array of topics, including strategies for tracking fives in one-deck games, notably the five-count strategy. It also explores the ten count and point count systems, providing players with a comprehensive toolkit for enhancing their blackjack gameplay.

Revere’s Role as a Pit Boss and His Legacy

In an intriguing twist, Lawrence Revere spent time working as a pit boss in a casino. Remarkably, he used his role to train players in card counting and personally enjoyed success in beating the house. His writings, however, did not extensively address the tactics for avoiding detection by casinos. It’s important to note that Revere’s works primarily reflect the late 60s and early 70s when casinos were less vigilant about card counting.

As casino awareness of card counting increased, the concept of blackjack teams emerged to counter detection efforts. This shift in the game’s dynamics renders some of Revere’s older strategies less applicable today. Nevertheless, “Playing Blackjack as a Business” remains one of the best-selling gambling books, offering a wealth of information and mathematics that still hold relevance.

Lawrence Revere was a multifaceted blackjack expert who played both sides of the table as a dealer and a player, sustaining a successful blackjack career for over 28 years. He earned a reputation for being ejected from virtually every casino in Nevada while being hailed as the “Master of Camouflage.” Despite his passing in 1977 due to cancer, his legacy endures in the realm of blackjack.

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Lawrence Revere