Keith Taft

Keith Taft was working as a teacher. And though a perfectly happy and contented family man, deep down he felt as though something was missing. One day, just by chance, he found himself sitting at a casino gaming table in Reno. Having tried various games, but finally settled on blackjack. Being of a mathematical mindset, he took home some winnings on his first outing. Considering he had never played before, this was something quite amazing. Afterward, he set about becoming a blackjack ninja.

Keith Taft: The Blackjack Ninja

For many blackjack players, the ultimate honor is to be inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. This is in recognition of the art of blackjack and its mastery. Without a doubt, there have been many wonderful blackjack players who have received this honor. Yet no one was more deserving than Keith Taft. He was one of the very first inductees, and it was thanks to him that casino blackjack would never be the same again. Let’s take a look into the story of Keith Taft and how he became the blackjack master

Life Before The Casino

Keith Taft was born in the town of Cut Bank in Montana just before the war in 1930. Taft had always been an innovator at heart. And from a very early age, he showed incredible talent when it came to inventing things. These included a three-wheeled car that was made from old exhaust pipes and explosives made from chemicals taken from his school chemistry class.

Keith Taft
Picture Source: Pixabay

He took great delight in shocking his teachers by hot wiring doorknobs. It was clear to see that Taft’s incredible talents were practical and expansive. If he had an idea in mind, then he would study and experiment until he found a means to follow through and create it.

Teaching and Studying

After finishing college, in which he majored in both music and physics, he then taught music in high school for 5 years. Later he would spend another 3 years teaching physics. At this point, he decided he would go back to school himself, and he earned a Master’s Degree in physics. Whilst all this was going on, he married his childhood sweetheart and they had four children together. With his new skills, he was quickly offered a job as a semiconductor engineer and the family all moved to California. Although Taft had enjoyed his career as a teacher and was enjoying his time as an engineer, deep down he felt that these were not the professions he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Blackjack Casino Escapade

Unfortunately, his new job required very long hours. It was often the case that the children were left with their grandparents. But once on a road trip, they decided to visit the famous Hurrah’s Auto Museum in Reno, Nevada. As a form of promotion, visitors were given what was called “Lucky Bucks”, which could be used at the property’s in-house casino. In truth, Taft had never been in a casino before let alone placed a bet. Nevertheless, with some convincing from his wife, they both decided to try their luck in the casino using the Lucky Bucks. After playing the slots for a while, they then moved on to the table games. Unfortunately, Lady Luck wasn’t smiling on Keith Taft, though eventually, they did win some money at the blackjack table. For Taft, this was his road to Damascus moment.

Keith Taft: A Sense of Purpose

After leaving the casino, ideas started swirling around in Taft’s inventive brain about how to win at blackjack. Over the next few months, he devoured all relevant materials he could find on blackjack strategy and gameplay.

Keith Taft
Picture Source: Pexels

He even went as far as to learn the art of card counting. But all this education didn’t lead to any success at the casino games table. He quickly realized he would need something more than just existing knowledge, luck, and the best blackjack strategies.

The Blackjack Computer

Ever the inventive engineer, he decided that he would design a machine that would count the blackjack cards for him. To that end, after 2-years of tinkering in his garage, he made the very first blackjack computer. Weighing in at about 15 lbs, he called the machine “George.” It was operated by the players’ big toes. The idea was that the large base device of the machine would be situated in his wife’s car parked outside the casino. Using a random radio frequency, the smaller transmitter and receiver device within Keith Taft’s shoes would transmit data to and from the vehicle. Such devices would be of no use today when you play blackjack games online. Casinos like King Billy Casino are designed to be tamper-proof.

Keith Taft: A Trail Run

In 1972 Taft took his son Marty to Reno. There they would try out the new blackjack computer “George.” The machine functioned flawlessly and they were able to make some serious winnings with their first outing. Having the devices situated in his shoes meant the casino had no idea how Keith Taft pulled off his winning at the blackjack table. But you can be certain they had their hawk-like beady eyes on him at all times after his wins.

All Good Things Must End

Taft was able to continue using his blackjack counting machine successfully for several years. Eventually, the family decided to invest some of their winnings in a larger house. Keith Taft took off two years in all to set up his family in their new abode.

Keith Taft
Picture Source: Pixabay

Once everyone was comfortable, he packed his machine into his car and set off once again for the casino. He was carrying a bankroll of $4,000 which he calculated should earn him $10,000 by the end of the session. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, he lost the entire bankroll very quickly. Interestingly enough, that was the very last time he ever was to play blackjack. Later on, he told his story to a reporter from the San Jose Mercury news.

The Legacy Of Keith Taft

Keith Taft invented the very first computer for counting cards at the blackjack table. Unfortunately, he never realized its full potential. As a result, he never was able to take the casinos to the cleaners and win huge money. Nevertheless, he did win a healthy and steady income from his invention, which he christened “George.” Unfortunately, his first loss saw him quit playing blackjack forever. No one would have ever known about his secret device if he hadn’t revealed his story to a local news station.

From George To David

Once this became public knowledge, he was approached by the famous blackjack Mongol, Ken Uston. He paid Taft to adjust his machine so that it would be more comfortable to play with. As a result, he created “David.”  This was a new version of George, but its size was that of a pocket calculator, meaning a good fit into anyone’s pocket. Rather than using the rather clumsy and sometimes inaccurate method of inputting data using one’s toes, this new device could be strapped to a player’s thigh under their trousers. So that they could use their fingers under the table to input information. Keith Taft fittingly called the machine “David” because in the Bible David defeats the massive Goliath. Rather like himself defeating the casinos.

These machines were in use for several years by Ken Aston and were to prove incredibly successful. Their demise did not come about from discovery. But rather the fact that the casinos introduced multiple decks and card shuffling machines for their blackjack games. If you’re searching for the best gambling site for blackjack, we suggest that you head over to King Billy Casino. Not only do they have every type of blackjack under the sun, but also offer all new players a bonkers welcome offer for Welcome Package: €1,000!

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