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Biography of Peter Griffin

Griffin was born to a family steeped in mathematics. He was the grandson of Frank Loxley Griffin a mathematician at Reed College and his father was an actuary who managed an insurance company. After achieving a master's degree from the University of California at Davis Griffin later taught statistics and calculus at the California State University until his death in 1998 aged 61.

However, it was his exploration of blackjack statistics that Griffin gained fame and he was the first to delineate the two primary parameters for calculating winning odds in blackjack. Griffins showed that the Betting Correlation (BC) and the Playing Efficiency (PE) could provide an accurate estimate for any system's winning potential. Griffin's first attempts at playing blackjack in were in 1970 in Nevada. His lack of success motivated him to research and he pursued a line of investigation on player patterns that included a survey of the American public’s skill at blackjack and a comparison of how well Atlantic City players faired against Las Vegas or Reno blackjack players. His preferred method of investigation was to tour gambling regions taking notes by hand of players' successes and losses and then comparing them to the idea mathematical model. His efforts led him to reveal for the first time that the house has a two percent advantage over the average blackjack player. In 1978, he published his first book: The Theory of Blackjack: The Complete Card Counter’s Guide to the Casino Game of 21. The book was a breakthrough for anyone interested in blackjack system and playing the game. While some of the theories require a college level mathematics to follow even today many players consider it to be a landmark tome and a source of invaluable information for those who want to understand the mathematics of blackjack. Although there are various methods for counting cards ultimately all of the systems share the same core principles of Betting Correlation and Playing Efficiency that Griffin described in the book.

Griffin's next publication came in 1991 with his book 'Extra Stuff: Gambling, Ramblings' that explored some of the more esoteric aspects of gambling such variable payoffs and proportional wagering. Aside from his books, Griffin also published many gambling articles in mathematical journals and at academic conferences. Griffin even combined his love for teaching with gambling by teaching about 20 course on the Mathematics of Gambling at the Harrah’s Institute of Casino Entertainment.

He traveled extensively with his wife Lydia picking up a smattering of Spanish, German, and Italian along the way. Griffin’s contributions to gambling knowledge and play made him an obvious candidate for the Blackjack Hall of fame and he was made an inaugural member when it was established in 2003

Andrew Sanders - Managing Editor