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Blackjack Books

A quick search through the database at Amazon.com will reveal over 1,800 results, including paperback and hardback books, audio CDs and Kindle versions. Some are classics that never go out of publication. Others are not worth the paper (or bits) they are printed on. Following are a dozen of the very best books on blackjack ever written, along with some insights into what makes then so great.

  • Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp (1962) – This is where it all started. The world’s most widely acclaimed book on blackjack set forth the original “winning strategy for the game of 21.” Every blackjack book to follow is based at least in part on Dr. Thorp’s classic, now in print as a mass market paperback.

  • Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere (1969) – If Thorp popularized Basic Strategy, Revere turned it into a money-making machine with his easy-to-read book on card counting. Most of the charts that the former dealer devised still apply after four decades.

  • The Big Player by Kenneth Senso Uston (1977) – Another classic of the golden era of blackjack, Uston revealed the secrets of team play in this book and forever changed the way casinos view card counting—as a threat, not merely as a nuisance.

  • The Theory of Blackjack by Peter Griffin (1979) – This mathematically advanced book is not for everyone, but it still ranks as one of the best academic studies into the game and the practice of card counting, covering not just the how but the why of strategic play. Many revised editions have been published since the original was released.

  • The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book by Lance Humble and Carl Cooper (1980) – Often referred to as the “Blackjack Bible,” this classic has been revised and updated several times. In 432 pages, it describes everything there is to know from odds and betting strategies to Hi-Opt 1 card counting and much more.

  • The Blackjack Formula by Arnold Snyder (1980) – Now out of print, this was one of the very first books to explain the relative importance of various table conditions, such as deck penetration, to the win rate of blackjack card counters. It’s now a collector’s item, with used paperback copies going for $65 and up.

  • Million Dollar Blackjack by Kenneth Senso Uston (1981) – Now considered a classic, this book covers five levels of strategy from basic to the Uston Advanced Point Count system. It also offers stories from the Hall of Famer’s event-filled life as a professional player, plus advice on team play. Over 100,000 copies have been sold.

  • Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder (1983) – This frequently updated book treats blackjack as a martial art, offering an A-to-Z (Advanced Point Count to Zen Count) description of card counting at the intermediate level. Fans have called it “one of the absolute best books ever written on the subject of Casino Blackjack.”

  • Blackjack Secrets by Stanford Wong (1993) – Wong is the nom de plume for Stanford professor John Ferguson, of course, and everything he writes smacks of experience as well as genius. Ranging from the basics of card counting to fresh material for experienced players, this 256-page classic is a superb introduction to how precise play can create an advantage over the House.

  • Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong (1994) – Loaded with tables, statistics and clear instructions, this is one of Wong’s best books. It covers not only card counting but also other ways to beat blackjack and contains strategies for rule variations. For those who have reached an advanced level of play, this is the book to own and refer to often.

  • Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich (2002) – This is the story of the MIT blackjack team that won millions of dollars by card counting. Although it takes some liberties with the true story, the book makes a very enjoyable read as well as the basis for the 2008 blockbuster movie “21” starring Kevin Spacey.

  • The Big Book of Blackjack by Arnold Snyder (2006) – Weighing in at a hefty 336 pages, this book is divided into 27 chapters packed with fresh material, from the rules of the game to advanced professional strategies. As mentioned above, Snyder is a pro whose guidance and advice has inspired some of the world’s best players.

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