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The Biography of Peter Griffin

11 Dec 2008

Peter Griffin was born in 1937 and took a long way to become one of the 7 original members of the well-famous Blackjack Hall of Fame. He was the grandson of a famous mathematician Frank Loxley Griffin and this may partly explain his great talent in the field of counting probabilities. Peter Griffin was the first one who distilled the potential pros of all the counting systems to distinguish two main parameters: the Betting Correlation (BC) and the Playing Efficiency (PE).

The parameters Griffin paid attention to allowed to perform an exact estimation of the potential win probability of any system in any gambling game without the need of computer analysis. In addition, he than evaluated the differences between one and multi level card counting systems.

Peter Griffin graduated from Portland State University where he received his baccalaureate degree, and from the University of California he has received a Masters Degree. Since 1965 he had been teaching statistics, calculus and differential equations at the California State University. He died from prostate cancer on October 18th, 1998, at the age of 61.

Moreover, he also was a teacher in a course of Mathematics of Gambling at the Harrah’s Institute of Casino Entertainment. For all his life he has taught about 20 courses. His lessons were full of stories on gamblers, casinos and card-counting.

He has spent a lot of time conducting a statistical research of winning hands in Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos watching the games with a notepad. He studied the results of a play against a mathematical strategy. This allowed to find out that the average player has approximately 2% edge over the casino.

The famous book The Theory of Blackjack: The Complete Card Counter’s Guide to the Casino Game of 21 appeared in 1978. This was a great breakthrough in the field of gambling and a wonderful tool for players and researchers. This book is often considered to be second as important after the Edward Thorp’s Beat the Dealer.

Peter Griffin was an author of a great number of various works and papers on blackjack which included the following topics:

  • basic strategy - definition and analysis
  • strategy variations, approximating bets
  • single level counting
  • multi level counting
  • insurance
  • grouping cards
  • probability distribution
  • errors and consequences in card counting, betting gain in 2-4 deck games.

The book Extra Stuff: Gambling Ramblings which appeared in 1991, was aimed at revealing more abstract gaming concepts, like proportional wagering, games with variable payoffs, rebates' effect on losses.

Since 1978 and till now Griffin's methods are considered as one of the most powerful ones, and allow the use of the basic principles even in the most complex counting.

He was a full of life gambler who loved to travel and spent a lot of time learning foreign languages.

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