Ed Thorp was the first 'quant', the first person to make mathematical analysis and statistics the center of his investing. But he only got there because of a card game.
As a young man, Ed Thorp was a mathematician doing pretty much what you'd expect a mathematician to do: teaching, studying, trying to solve hard problems. There was one particular problem that nobody else had been able to solve. He wanted to come up with a mathematical system to beat the casino at blackjack.