I recently posted a review on a three-decade old book that professed to be the “greatest blackjack book in the world” and although it was a very good book, it is not quite the best one out there. There are many of books on the subject of blackjack, covering everything from strategy and history, to the best casinos and card counting techniques, and even taking an irreverent and comical look at the game and its players. This article will look at the books that you should be reading as an amateur, a professional and even just as someone looking for something entertaining on the game of blackjack.
Basic Blackjack and Blackjack Secrets by Stanford Wong
One of the best books on standard blackjack is Basic Blackjack by Stanford Wong, a professional blackjack player and author whose real name is John Ferguson. Stanford Wong is very highly regarded in the world of blackjack and in this book he lays basic strategy out in full. There are few better ways to learn the game than from one of the best players in its history and this book is ideal for those who have just started and want to learn more. It also discusses the mathematics of the game and some of the many side bets and unusual rules that you will encounter in many of the European and Asian casinos. This isn’t one of the most popular books on the subject or the biggest seller, and it was written over twenty years ago so some of it might be obsolete, but it is still worth a read.
Blackjack Secrets is a more up-to-date blackjack book with some information that can be useful to all levels of ability. It isn’t ideal for those who are new to the game, but as an accompaniment to Basic Blackjack, it is perfect. There is also some great tips that experienced players and card counters can learn.
1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors: Finding Profit and Humor in Counting
This book is a little different than the others and is not about blackjack strategy as such. It was written by Glen Wiggy and is an autobiographical account of a blackjack player and card counter, describing his adventures in a humorous manner. This is a good book to pickup if you’re looking for entertainment whilst sticking to the theme of blackjack, and you might also learn something about card counting along the way. Those who have played blackjack professionally and those who have counted cards in the biggest casinos will find a lot of material that they can relate to here.
Another amusing take on classic blackjack books is Blackjack Autumn by Barry Meadow. This book tracks the author’s journey through Nevada as he goes on a quest to win big at all of the major casinos in the state, counting cards at all of them. The book is very well written and funny, and it covers more than just standard blackjack stories, with tales of car breakdowns and more. The writing is very light and accessible and the blackjack and card counting theme is sure to please everyone. You are unlikely to learn anything from this book but it is a great read nonetheless.
Big Book of Blackjack, Blackbelt in Blackjack and other titles by Arnold Snyder
Arnold Snyder is one of the most recognised names in the game of blackjack and was one of the first players to be inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Arnold Snyder is also the editor of the Blackjack Forum, a magazine that recently moved online and has become a primary source for many involved with the game.
The Big Book of Blackjack is by far one of the best books that has ever been written about the game, it includes a great deal of information such as the history of the game and those who have influenced it the most. This is also a great source of information about strategy and there is even a section with some poetry relating to blackjack. Without intending to sound like an informercial, if you only ever buy one book on blackjack then this should be it, as it covers everything you could ever want to do. The only downfall, however, is that with so much information the big and important things don’t get as much page space as they require, so you will need other books to further expand your knowledge in those areas.
The Blackbelt in Blackjack, also by Arnold Snyder, relates to card counting, and is perfect for those who are new card counting. Those with a bit more experience might also benefit, although it is unlikely to be of any use to any experienced counters out there.
Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston
This book was penned by Ken Uston, one of the greatest players in the history of the game who sadly passed away a number of years ago. Ken is the reason that casinos in Atlantic City are not allowed to ban players for card counting, but that isn’t his only legacy and he led a rich and accomplished life. He is a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame and this book takes an in-depth look at strategy from a professional standpoint. Ken himself was a card counter, but he also had some sound strategy which he lays out in full here. The only issue with this book is that it might be a bit dated, but there is still so much that new and experienced players can learn, as well as getting an insight into the mind of a great man.
Playing Blackjack as a Business
As its name suggest, this book is ideal for those who are looking to turn their hobby into a full-time job. It looks at all the angles and issues that a professional blackjack player will face during the course of their career, including bankrolls, bonuses and more. As with many other great books on this subject it is somewhat dated, but there is some sound advice on card counting systems and on turning the game into a profitable business.
Other books that you should consider reading are Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. Ben was the leading man behind the MIT card counting team, and in this book he describes those glory days when he and his team broke the bank at several casinos. Dynamic Blackjack, by Maverick Sharp, is a new book and one of the best to be published for a number of years, a necessity for any player’s bookshelf; Hollywood Blackjack, by Dave Stann takes an irreverent and humorous look at the game; and Ken Uston on Blackjack provides some sound advice from the late great blackjack professional Ken Uston.
Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter, and Winning Blackjack for the Serious Player, by Avery Cardoza and Edwin Silberstang respectively, are two very well written and comprehensive books that can help people to play and win without using any card counting techniques. If you’re looking to learn about blackjack variants, one of the best books that you can read is The Pro’s Guide to Spanish 21 and Australian Pontoon, written by Katarina Walker. Spanish 21 has a higher house edge, but many people prefer it to classic blackjack. If you have yet to play it, or want to know more about it, then this is a great place to start.