STRATEGY

The Best Blackjack Books – How To Improve Your Game

Blackjack, or 21, is a card game that has long been popular around the world.  It’s a seemingly simple game that tends to encourage beginning gamblers to take a chance.  After all, it’s so easy anyone can win a hand of Blackjack, right?  Clearly not, as many casinos live on with the winnings from their Blackjack tables alone. Unsurprisingly, many books have been written on the subject, so we’ve brought you our list of the Best Blackjack Books.

The mystery and appeal of the game of Blackjack continue to make it extremely popular today. This can be whether it’s played for real money at a casino, or played on a personal computer just for fun. In the last fifty years, professional gamblers and mathematicians have tackled the subject and developed several methods to increase the odds in a player’s favor rather than the dealer.  Several of the methods involve team play, counting cards, and identifying tables.  While casinos aggressively seek to stop these winning Blackjack strategies, they can indeed be helpful to the gambler.

Learning the Game

If you want to learn how to win at Blackjack, you need to do some homework.  Luckily, from the 1960’s through to today, gamblers have been writing blackjack books.  The game hasn’t changed a bit, so all of the information is still very valuable to know.  To understand the subject of Blackjack, you need to be able to understand the complex mathematics behind it, and a quick Google search isn’t going to do you much good.  You need to sit down and read a book.

Yes, a book is still the best way to learn a large amount of information about any subject, and Blackjack is no exception.  The following are ten of the finest books on the subject of Blackjack, written by professional gamblers, mathematicians, and former casino personnel.  If you want to learn how to win at Blackjack, these are your instruction manuals:

Big Book of Blackjack

Big Book of Blackjack by Arnold Snyder (2006)

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As the “guru” of Blackjack for over 25 years, players and followers the world over regard Arnold Snyder as the finest exponent of his craft.  This guide gives you everything you need to know to win in the world of casino Blackjack, including advanced strategies, advice, and techniques.  This book is loaded with tips, and you’ll love the easy to read format.

Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder (1983)

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As a master of Blackjack play, Snyder wrote this book as a serious guide to players who want to make a living at beating the system.  The extended title is “Playing 21 as a Martial Art.”  That’s how serious Snyder takes his Blackjack game.  Topics covered include multiple decks, shuffle tracking, solo and team play, fooling the casino, and several counting techniques.

Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp (1962)

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Published way back in 1962, Edward Thorp is considered to be the father of card counting.  In this book, he outlines his point system, Blackjack strategy, rules of the game, beating the casino, and how to identify cheaters.  He even includes small cheat cards that you can take into the casino to help you out.  With over a million copies in print, this is the bible of card counting.

Bringing Down the House

Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich (2002)

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This book is probably the most famous one on this list of best Blackjack books.  While it is considered to be a work of fiction, it is based on the real-life story about a group of MIT students. Along with their professor, they worked as a team playing Blackjack to earn over 3 million dollars from some large Atlantic City casinos.  The story is embellished a bit from the true events, but this story is very entertaining. The later movie, called “21”, featured Kevin Spacey as the MIT professor.  The information contained on the method the group used to win at Blackjack is very useful and absolutely true.

Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston (1981)

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Many players have the opinion that this is the most important book on Blackjack ever written.  With over 100,000 copies sold, this may be true.  The author graduated from Yale and had a Wall Street job earning over $40,000 a year (remember that was a lot of money back in the 80’s) when he decided to quit and play Blackjack professionally.  He chronicles the sum total of his poker experiences throughout this piece.  If you want to improve your play and increase your winnings, read this book.

Theory of Blackjack by Peter Griffin (1979)

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If you’ve always wanted to learn how to count cards, this is the book for you.  Peter Griffin breaks down card counting theory and strategy to a concept we can all understand.  The history of card counting, number of decks, rules, and analysis of other player’s betting behaviors are all covered here.  While this book is a little math-heavy, it’s well done and entertaining.

Blackjack Blueprint by Rick Blaine (2006)

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If you want to learn how to play like a pro in your spare time, this is the book for you.  It covers everything you’ll need to know about Blackjack, including counting cards, playing solo, team play, basic strategy, tournaments, shuffle tracking, disguises, outwitting casino security, and how to get out of a foreign country with a boatload of cash.  The author tested everything he’s written in this book, following his own advice to lucrative ends.  This is a great Blackjack book.

Professional Blackjack

Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong (1994)

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This book is all about how to win at Blackjack without getting kicked out of casinos.  It contains several strategies for winning, from basic to advanced systems.  All of the strategies contained in this book have been tested and proven to work.  The book goes into depth on basic strategy, rules to decide when to quit, and how to limit exposure, to name a few things.  Stanford Wong is, in reality, a Stanford-educated author by the name of John Ferguson.

Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere (1969)

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Lawrence Revere began dealing Blackjack at the age of 13 in the back of a barber shop in Iowa.  After that, he spent 28 years in the world of gambling as a professional Blackjack player, pit boss, owner, dealer, and troubleshooter.  He majored in mathematics at the University of Nebraska and ended up teaching Blackjack to hundreds of students.  The unique insider’s viewpoint gives this book a unique perspective compared to others. It’s important to note that Revere’s strategy was confirmed by high-speed computers at the IBM Corporation.  If you want real-life experience and solid strategies based upon mathematics, this book is a must-read.

Burning the Tables in Las Vegas by Ian Andersen (1999)

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Way back in 1976, Ian Andersen wrote a book all about casinos called Turning the Tables on Las Vegas.  This book was an instant classic, and it inspired thousands to become professional Blackjack players worldwide.  After publishing the book, Andersen disappeared from the public eye behind a screen of mystery.  Many have wondered where he’s been and what he’s been up to, but don’t fear because he tells you the complete story in this great book.  Since the 70’s, Andersen has been working to perfect his approach to Blackjack, Poker, and life in general.  His methods use a combination of psychology, mathematics, spirituality, and physical well-being to create a winning outlook on life as a whole.

Andersen carefully examines every possible way to gain an advantage at the Blackjack table, from table selection to relationships with casino employees and how much to tip.  His total commitment to winning is clear, as he even addresses the subject of exercise and diet to become a winner.  This is a life-changing approach to becoming a professional Blackjack player.

Blackjack Card Counting

Best Blackjack BooksThe act of card counting is universally frowned upon in all casinos.  However, if you can get away with it, you may win a lot of money.  It’s tough for security to determine who’s counting cards, so the key is not to be too greedy.  If you’re caught counting cards, it’s considered illegal, and you may forfeit your winnings and be blackballed from the casino.  Or worse.  If you’re considering counting cards in a real casino, be careful.

Best Blackjack Books Conclusion

If you want to become a professional Blackjack player, or you only want to be successful at it part-time, you need to learn how to improve the odds in your favor.  There are many different ways to accomplish this, including working in teams and counting cards.  While there is some risk involved, as long as the casinos don’t catch you and you don’t get too greedy, you’ll be just fine.

To really learn the game of Blackjack, you need the most in-depth, extensive knowledge you can get. The list above is a great place to start looking.  Read one, a few, or all of them if you prefer, and your Blackjack game will improve tremendously.  If you’re good enough, you may even start to beat the house edge. Thanks for reading our list of the best blackjack books, please leave a comment below, and good luck!


I am a poker enthusiast who also enjoys sailing, rugby, and gaming. A relative newcomer to the world of online poker, I will be putting our strategy guides to the test as I start the Bankroll Challenge: how far can I get without depositing a single penny? Keep an eye out for updates.


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