UC Irvine

Beating the odds: Ed Thorp tells how he invented card counting and made a fortune on Wall Street

Beating the odds: Ed Thorp tells how he invented card counting and made a fortune on Wall Street

Edward O. Thorp doesn’t look like an outlaw.

The man greeting me in his Newport Beach business office stands ramrod straight with the studied mien of a mathematics professor — which he was at UC Irvine for nearly two decades. He’s as trim at 84 as he must have been at 30, when he first won fame as a gambling casino nemesis; or 37, when he founded a pioneering hedge fund; or 58, when he exposed Bernie Madoff’s fraud to an investment client (17 years before the fraud was exposed to the world). 

“When there’s money and not full accountability, whether it’s in casinos or on Wall Street,” he says, “there’s going to be stealing and cheating.” His career as a card...

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