The Uston, The World's Greatest Blackjack Calculator and Other Devices
The Uston is a tin, circular device that gives the basic strategy for Atlantic City rules in 1979, i.e. 4 or 6 decks, S17, DOA, DAS, NRS and ESR. It consists of two concentric circles, each about as thick as a cut card. The bottom and larger circle has each possible player's hand printed on the edge. the top circle has the dealer's up cards printed on it above a thin, rectangular slit. The top circle rotates to display the correct basic strategy printed on the bottom circle as the top circle is rotated to point to a player's hand printed on the edge of the bottom circle. The Uston does nothing that a basic strategy card does. It came with a booklet on basic strategy by Kun Uston called Dollars and Sense.
There is also a similar cardboard device with a 1980 copyright date called The World's Greatest Blackjack Calculator. It has a circular piece of cardboard between two square sheets open on one edge to rotate the inner piece. One side has basic strategy for S17, DOA and no DAS, with surrender basic strategy printed on the top square sheet. The other side has Hi-Opt I indices from The World's Greatest Blackjack Book.
I have both of these devices. I have no recollection of what I paid for them. I have no idea of whether they have much collector value.
The Thorp Beat the Dealer Computer is compact slab-like circular slide rule for keeping the ten count from Thorp's book in a single deck game. It is mechanical, i.e. non-electronic and non-electric. Possession of this device in a casino today can land the possessor in prison, even though it would be as effective in a 6 deck game as a cap gun in a gun fight. I would like to get one of these devices as a collector's item because of the connection to Thorp. It was advertised in early printings of the paperback second edition of Thorp's Beat the Dealer ca. 1966. There was an article about it in Snyder's Blackjack Forum many years ago.
Even if not more useful than a basic strategy card, The Uston would be a great item to own. I love those old-fashioned mechanical devices. Thanks for the warning about bringing them into a casino--I guess that means I can't use my old Curta at the tables :-)