Blackjack Books

Blackjack Books

You can spend a lot of money on products to help you get better as a blackjack player. You'll find online courses galore. You can even find personal coaches and tutors who will help you get an edge over the casino.

These products might have some value, but we're a big fan of a more affordable option: blackjack books.

On our site you'll find detailed reviews and overviews of a number of recommended blackjack books. Below we offer a birds' eye view of what some of the better books in the field have to offer.


1. Blackjack Bluebook II by Fred Renzey

Blackjack Bluebook II is sub-titled: "the simplest winning strategies ever published". It offers a complete guide to the game, including sections on how to play, how to use correct basic strategy, and how to get an edge by counting cards. We especially enjoyed the section explaining commonly-misplayed hands.

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

  • 1KISS I
  • 2KISS II
  • 2KISS III

We also enjoyed the multiple illustrations and tables presented in the book, many of which were in color.

2. Blackjack for Blood by Bryce Carlson

Blackjack for Blood is sub-titled "The Card-Counters' Bible, and Complete Winning Guide". We think it's one of the only books most people would need to become a professional card counter. It's not as comprehensive about the math behind the game or the history of how players have tried to win as some other books. But it's practical in the extreme.

Carlson includes how to play, how to use basics strategy, and how to count cards. But he also includes sections about camouflaging your advantage play efforts, which is important if you want to avoid getting 86'ed.

You don't have to become a professional to have fun playing blackjack. Carlson explains how to get enough of an edge to turn blackjack into a hobby where you can win money and get comps from the casinos without mathematically risking much money at all. And if you want to become a pro, you can.

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

3. The Theory of Blackjack by Peter A. Griffin

The Theory of Blackjack's subtitle is "The Compleat Card Counter's Guide to the Casino Game of 21". It's considered one of the classics in the field, and it focuses (as you might expect) on the numbers and math behind the card counting systems in use today. If you want to get an idea of how we determined things like playing efficiency and other aspects of a counting system, this is the book to read.

It's also a practical book. You can learn basic strategy and how to count cards, too. It's a surprisingly entertaining book, considering how math-heavy it is.

4. Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere

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

The legend has it that he started dealing blackjack in the back of a barber shop at the age of 13.

You'll find simple, practical explanations of how to master the game in this book. It's focused on players who want to become professionals. It's old, though, and possibly out-dated in some respects. The book dates from the early 1970s.

5. Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp

Beat the Dealer is sub-titled "A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One". Thorp, the author, is considered the "father of card counting". This is an old book and possibly out-dated in some respects, but it still provides some of the best and simplest discussions of how and why card counting works.

It also offers how to play and a delineation of which strategies are appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. The sections on cheating are probably useless to modern players, as few casinos cheat anymore. The charts and tables are great, too.

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

Knock-Out Blackjack is sub-titled "The Easiest Card Counting System Ever Devised". We think this is a little bit of a misnomer, as the Ace Five count is arguably a lot easier.

But in terms of a practical system that you can actually use to get an edge, Knock-Out Blackjack might, in fact, be close to the easiest. It's right up there with the Red Seven count, anyway.

You'll find information about the system presented in this book on our site under the name "KO Blackjack" or "KO Card Counting System". It's an unbalanced count that eliminates the need for a running count to true count conversion.

7. Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong

Professional Blackjack doesn't have a sub-title, but it's written by one of the best blackjack writers in the business today. It's practical, but it also goes into enough detail to be used as a serious reference book. It might not be the best starting-point for novices, though.

This is an older book, and the author is optimistic about how easy it is to get an edge over the casino. The reality in today's casinos is a little tougher in terms of getting an edge 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 on Amazon. It's out of print, so you'll need to find a used copy somewhere. During the 1970s and 1980s, this was considered a state of the art guide to winning at blackjack. The author, Ken Uston, is one of the interesting characters in the game-maybe less interesting than Lawrence Revere, but still quite a character.

9. Blackjack Attack by Don Schlesinger

Blackjack Attack is sub-titled "Playing the Pros' Way". It's out of print now, but it's easy to find in used versions. The author is a great mathematician with a knack for explaining how much to bet, how to analyze risk, how to put together a blackjack team, and how to compare one card counting system with another.

10. Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder

Blackbelt in Blackjack is sub-titled "Playing 21 as a Martial Art". It's a clever thematic gimmick, but don't let that fool you. It's an incredibly practical book and one that we've referred to constantly during our career as gamblers.

This book explains some of the more interesting advantage play techniques we discus on this site, too, including shuffle tracking. He covers multiple counting systems, too, including:

  • The Red 7 Count
  • The Hi Lo Count
  • The Zen Count

11. Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter by Avery Cardoza

The theme of Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter is simple enough. Its goal is to teach you how to get an edge over the casino without having to count card. The way to do that is to find good single deck games and play with perfect basic strategy. The edge you get from such a strategy is small, but it will make you a winner in the long run if you're good at it.

Unlike many other blackjack books, Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter includes information about playing blackjack online.

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 how to get started. It's well-written enough to be easily understood by the novice, but it also includes enough information that you can use it to get 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 Red 7 count.

13. Blackjack Secrets by Stanford Wong

Blackjack Secrets is a good book if you're just getting started, but once you've become proficient, you'll probably be better served by some of the other books on this list. Some of the information in this one, as with many of the books on our list, is outdated. That doesn't make the book useless, but some discernment is necessary.

The book covers the Hi Lo counting system in detail. It also includes details about how to practice most effectively.

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

Blackjack: A Winner's Handbook includes information about how automatic shuffling machines affect the game. It also explains why counting cards 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 that section are out-of-date, too.

We enjoyed his observations about how to learn more about the game using informational websites, too. The bankroll management advice is excellent. We love learning practical techniques to improve our mental discipline.

Finally, we enjoy books which provide advice on HOW to practice. It's not enough to know how to count cards. You need a practical strategy for improving your skills.

15. Sklansky Talks Blackjack by David Sklansky

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

But what we enjoy most about this book is his total-by-total analysis of how to play every possible hand. He explains the math behind the correct decisions in a way that makes sense to even the most math-challenged reader.

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

16. Play Blackjack Like the Pros by Kevin Blackwood

Play Blackjack Like the Pros is the beginners' 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 an uncomplicated approach that we envy and try to emulate here on our site.

He starts from the beginning by explaining in detail how the game works and how to use basic strategy to reduce the edge. Then he explains how to count 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 Safeguarding Modern Casino Table Games, Side Bets and Promotions". At $50 per copy, it's not cheap, but it's well worth buying anyway. We wish it were available for the Kindle, but it's not-you have to buy it in paperback if you want to read it.

Advanced Advantage Play covers more than just blackjack. It also includes information about casino promotions and getting an edge at 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 considered a sequel to Andersen's 1975 book Turning the Tables on Las Vegas, which was all about how to conduct yourself in the casino while winning. That original book is one of the classics in the card counting literature.

Turning the Tables broadens his focus to discuss games besides blackjack (poker), and it also focuses on success in general. But his approach to success is about as different from reading something Steven Covey or Tony Robbins as you can imagine. Other success literature discusses psychology and the importance of taking care of your physical and mental health. What those books leave out is the focus on math and probability.

But it's not just a self-help book. You'll also find copious amounts of advice directly aimed at the blackjack advantage player. It even includes advice about disguises and fake ID's. Controlling your emotions to avoid self-sabotage is also important.

Our favorite parts of the book, though, are the anecdotes about the author's personal experiences as a gambler. This is well worth reading.

19. Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich

Bringing Down the House is a fictionalized account of what happened with the MIT blackjack team. We recommend this book with reservations. Our problem with it is that it bills itself as nonfiction, but it's admittedly a far cry from the facts.

Still, Mezrich's book is an interesting read. If you enjoyed the movie 21, then you'll probably also enjoy this book.

Just don't expect any detailed how-to information. You won't find it in this book, which is basically a biography/memoir of sorts.

20. Comp City by Max Rubin

Comp City focuses less on winning at blackjack and more on learning how to reduce the house edge close enough to 0 that you profit from the comps that the casinos offer. Rubin is an entertaining writer, and he explains how the comps system in the casinos work in detail. He goes on to explain how to take full advantage of it.

If you're familiar with The Frugal Gambler, you probably understand some of the concepts in Comp City. The main difference is that blackjack is a higher-stakes game, so you'll need a bigger bankroll to take advantage of these strategies in the casino.

Conclusion

The literature related to blackjack is vast. In fact, the blackjack books listed here barely scratch the surface. Most of the authors of these books have multiple books to their credit-especially Arnold Snyder, Stanford Wong, and Ken Uston.

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