The Jess Marcum Story

By Allan Schaffer, Ph.D.
(From Blackjack Forum Volume XXIV #3, Summer 2005)
© 2005 Blackjack Forum

[Editor’s Note: The thing that keeps striking me about Jess Marcum is the depth and intensity of respect and loyalty to him of the people who actually knew him and his achievements. Marcum didn’t go for publicity or fame—he avoided it. He never published anything about his pioneering blackjack system. Yet 13 years after his death and over 50 years after his major accomplishments in card counting, he’s still vividly remembered by the professional gamblers who were active in Las Vegas then as the smart guy who figured it out, as well as to his later friends. We are going to be documenting the history of those early days of card counting by publishing more articles on and by these early players in future issues of Blackjack Forum. –Arnold Snyder]

Jess Marcum developed a basic strategy for blackjack and was counting cards a decade before anyone else. Why is it then that not many of the members of today’s gambling community have heard of him? The reason is basically because he was a very private person. In addition, throughout his active gambling career he endeavored to keep his accomplishments secret to protect the opportunities he had discovered.

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Well-Known Member
Jess Marcum - Zengrifter Account

Thanks for the read. I was doing some research on the history of blackjack and came upon your post.
When he was living in Pittsburgh (East Pittsburgh) the industrial home of George Westinghouse I learned that he lived two buildings away from my Father's family home. This is where I ran into a wall as far as his history continued. If you are aware of any additional information of his history living in Pittsburgh please pass it on.

Thanks, Jim P.
Try contacting Schaffer or Snyder. zg

Jess Marcum "The little dark-haired guy from Calif" (Thorp, Beat The Dealer)
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Donald Trump hired Jess Marcum to evaluate baccarat for a player named Akio Kashiwagi who bet 200k a hand. Marcum determined that a win or lose challenge of $10 million would favor Trump.



Well-Known Member
Quite a guy

Good for you, zg for posting that, and to Arnold for writing it. Any more on Jess, I look forward to reading it.