Blackjack Reading Books: Enrich Your Culture

On our site you will find detailed reviews and overviews of a number of recommended blackjack books. Below we provide an overview of what some of the best books in the field have to offer.

1. Blackjack Bluebook II by Fred Renzey

The Blackjack Bluebook II is subtitled: « the simplest winning strategies ever published ». It offers a complete guide to the game, including sections on how to play, how to use a correct basic strategy and how to gain an advantage by counting cards. We particularly liked the section explaining the often poorly played hands.

As with many websites, this book includes a section dispelling the most common blackjack myths. It also features 3 different card counting systems.

We also appreciated the many illustrations and tables presented in the book, many of which were in colour.

2. Blackjack for Blood by Bryce Carlson

Blackjack for Blood is subtitled « The Card Counter Bible and the Complete Winner’s Guide« . We believe it is one of the only books that most people would need to become a professional card counter. It is not as comprehensive on the mathematics behind the game or the history of how players have tried to win as other books. But it is practical in the extreme.

Carlson understands how to play, how to use basic strategy and how to count cards. But it also includes sections on hiding your advantage gambling efforts, which is important if you want to avoid being 86′.

You don’t need to become a professional to have fun playing blackjack. Carlson explains how to get enough advantage to turn blackjack into a hobby where you can make money and get comps from the casinos without mathematically risking a lot of money. And if you want to become a pro, you can.

The counting system taught in this book is the Omega II.

3. Blackjack Theory by Peter A. Griffin

The subtitle of the Blackjack Theory is « The Complete Card Counter Guide for the Casino Game of 21« . It is considered one of the classics in the field and focuses (as you would expect) on the numbers and mathematics behind the card counting systems used today. If you want to get an idea of how we have determined things like game efficiency and other aspects of a counting system, this is the book to read.

It’s also a practical book. You can also learn basic strategy and how to count cards. It’s a surprisingly entertaining book, given its heavy maths content.

4. Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere

Playing Blackjack as a business is one of the oldest books available on the field. The author was also one of the most interesting characters in the field. Lawrence Revere works as a stand manager and dealer for various casinos. He also served as a consultant for casinos trying to identify card counters, so he had a lot of experience on both sides of the fence.

Legend has it that he started playing blackjack in the back of a hair salon at the age of 13.

You will find simple and practical explanations on how to master the game in this book. It focuses on players who want to become professionals. It is old, however, and perhaps outdated in some ways. The book dates back to the early 1970s.

5. Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp

Beat the Dealer is subtitled « A winning strategy for the game of twenty-one« . Thorp, the author, is considered the « father of card counting ». It is an old and perhaps outdated book in some respects, but it still provides some of the best and simplest discussions on how and why card counting works.

It also suggests how to play and a delineation of appropriate strategies for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. The sections on cheating are probably unnecessary for modern players, as few casinos cheat more. The charts and tables are also excellent.

6. Blackjack Knock-Out by Ken Fuchs and Olaf Vancura

The Blackjack Knock-Out is subtitled « The simplest card counting system ever designed« . We think this is a bit of a misuse of language, as the Ace Five’s counting is probably much easier.

But in terms of a practical system that you can actually use to gain an advantage, Knock-Out Blackjack might actually be close to the simplest. It’s right up there with the Red Seven number anyway.

You can find information about the system presented in this book on our site under the name « KO Blackjack » or « KO Card Counting System ». It is an unbalanced counting system that eliminates the need for a conversion from current count to real number.

7. Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong

Professional Blackjack has no subtitle, but it is written by one of the best blackjack writers in the industry today. It is practical, but it is also detailed enough to be used as a serious reference book. It may not be the best starting point for novices.

This is an older book, and the author is optimistic about how easy it is to gain an advantage over the casino. The reality in today’s casinos is a little more difficult in terms of getting an advantage without getting caught.

The book presents the Hi Lo system as well as the Wong Halves counting system.

8. Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston

You can find used copies of Million Dollar Blackjack for next to nothing on eBay or Amazon. It’s sold out, so you’ll have to find a used copy somewhere. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, this was considered a leading guide to winning at blackjack. The author, Ken Uston, is one of the interesting characters in the game – perhaps less interesting than Lawrence Revere, but still a character.

9. Blackjack attack by Don Schlesinger

Blackjack Attack is subtitled « Playing the way the pros do ». It is out of print now, but it is easy to find in the versions used. The author is a great mathematician with a talent for explaining how much to bet, how to analyze risk, how to build a blackjack team and how to compare one card counting system with another.

10. Blackbelt to Blackjack by Arnold Snyder

Blackbelt in Blackjack is subtitled « Playing 21 as a Martial Art« . It’s a clever thematic gadget, but don’t be fooled. It is an incredibly practical book that we have referred to constantly throughout our playing careers.

This book explains some of the most interesting advantage gaming techniques that we also discuss on this site, including random tracking. It also covers several counting systems, among others:

  • The Red 7 Count
  • Le Salut Lo Count
  • Count Zen

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11. Winning Casino Blackjack for the non-counter by Avery Cardoza

The theme of Winning Casino Blackjack for the non-counter is quite simple. Its objective is to teach you how to get an advantage over the casino without having to count cards. The way to do it is to find good single deck games and play with a perfect basic strategy. The advantage you get from such a strategy is small, but it will make you a long-term winner if you are good at it.

Unlike many other blackjack books, Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter includes information on the game of online blackjack.

12. Big Book of Blackjack by Arnold Snyder

The Big Book of Blackjack is one of the first books on the subject that we recommend to anyone who asks us where to start. It is well enough written to be easily understood by the novice, but it also includes enough information for you to use it to make a profit and even become a professional. It has 27 chapters, many of which are interesting for their insights into the history of the game.

It includes an explanation of the number of Red 7s.

13. Blackjack Secrets by Stanford Wong

Blackjack Secrets is a good book if you are just getting started, but once you become proficient you will probably be better served by some of the other books on this list. Some of the information in this one, as in most of the books on our list, is out of date. This does not make the book useless, but some discernment is required.

The book covers the Hi Lo counting system in detail. It also includes details on how to practice in the most efficient way possible.

14. Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook by Jerry L. Patterson

Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook includes information on how automatic shuffling machines affect the game. It also explains why card counting sometimes doesn’t work. Unlike most of the other books on this list, Patterson’s opus includes a section on Internet gambling, although some of the details in this section are also out of date.

We also appreciated his observations on how to learn more about gambling by using informative websites. The bankroll’s management advice is excellent. We like to learn practical techniques to improve our mental discipline.

Finally, we appreciate books that give advice on how to practice. Knowing how to count cards is not enough. You need a practical strategy to improve your skills

15. Sklansky talks about blackjack by David Sklansky

Sklansky Talks Blackjack is our favourite blackjack book. He is as simple and entertaining in his discussion of the game as any other author on this list.

But what we like most about this book is its total-by-total analysis of how to play every possible hand. It explains the mathematics behind good decisions in a way that makes sense to even the most mathematically demanding readers.

It also explains how to use the Hi Lo count, which is good enough for most players. If you’ve read his books on poker, you know what Sklansky looks like. If you haven’t, then you owe it to yourself to learn more about David Sklansky and his approach to the game.

16. Play Blackjack like Kevin Blackwood’s pros

Play Blackjack Like the Pros is the beginner’s guide to blackjack and card counting that we wish we had written. Blackwood is one of the clearest and most entertaining writers on this list. It’s a simple approach that we envy and try to emulate here on our site.

It starts from the beginning by explaining in detail how the game works and how to use the basic strategy to reduce the advantage. Then he explains how to count the cards. This is the perfect blackjack book for beginners.

17. Advanced Advantage Play by Eliot Jacobson

Advanced Advantage Play is one of the newest and most up-to-date books on this list. The subtitle reads « Beating and saving modern casino table games, side bets and promotions ». At $50 a copy, it’s not cheap, but it’s worth buying it anyway. We wish it was available for the Kindle, but it is not – you have to buy it in paperback if you want to read it.

Advanced Advantage Play covers much more than just blackjack. It also includes information on casino promotions and getting an advantage over other games.

18. Burning the Tables in Las Vegas by Ian Andersen

Burning the Tables in Las Vegas is subtitled: « Keys to Success in Blackjack and In Life« . This could be seen as a sequel to Andersen’s 1975 book Turning the Tables on Las Vegas, which was about how to conduct yourself at the casino while winning. This original book is one of the classics of card counting literature.

Turning the Tables broadens its scope to discuss games in addition to blackjack (poker), and also focuses on success in general. But his approach to success is about as different from reading something by Steven Covey or Tony Robbins as you can imagine. Other publications on success deal with psychology and the importance of taking care of your physical and mental health. What these books omit is the emphasis on mathematics and probability.

But this is not just a self-help book. You’ll also find a lot of tips aimed directly at the blackjack advantage player. It even includes tips on disguises and fake IDs. It is also important to control your emotions to avoid self sabotage.

Our favorite parts of the book, however, are the anecdotes about the author’s personal experiences as a player. This is worth reading.

19. Bringing down the house by Ben Mezrich

Bringing Down the House is a fictional account of what happened with the MIT blackjack team. We recommend this book with reservations. Our problem with it is that it presents itself as non-fiction, but it is certainly far from the facts.

Still, Mezrich’s book is an interesting read. If you liked the film 21, you will probably also enjoy this book.

Don’t expect detailed information about the procedure. You will not find it in this book, which is essentially a biography / memoir.

20. Comp City by Max Rubin

Comp City focuses less on winning blackjack and more on learning how to reduce the house edge close enough to 0 so that you can take advantage of the benefits offered by casinos. Rubin is an entertaining writer, and he explains how the comps system in casinos works in detail. He goes on to explain how to take full advantage of it .

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