Gerolamo Cardano 1501-1576: A Throw of the Dice

Every so often you read about a bunch of clever MIT students or such like who go to Vegas and by superior brainpower make a killing at the tables before the spotters notice and kick them out.  In the old days, a broken leg might have been in the cards, so to speak, but in general the experiment ends with the players getting banned from the casino and selling the story to Hollywood.

Didn’t use to be be like that.  Consider the case of Cardano.  As a twenty five year old college student taking a break in a friendly game of cards in Venice, he found that his luck turned unreasonably bad.  He also found that the a game was being played with marked cards.  A direct sort of fellow, Cardano pulled a knife, stuck it in the other guy, then fled into the night.

Continue reading