There are many books for learning how to play blackjack and use simple or sophisticated counting systems.
Blackjack isn’t as widely popular as poker, so there aren’t as many newer texts out there that go over playing blackjack in modern casinos.
Many classic blackjack books, like Beat the Dealer, Playing Blackjack as a Business, and Sklansky Talks Blackjack, still have vital tips and tricks that hold up today.
Many people think that blackjack is this uncrackable game that takes way too long to master. Plus, there’s so much math involved. But what if we told you that learning how to play blackjack and advance your skills is actually as simple as reading a book or two and then practicing those concepts?
Well, it really is that simple. Professional blackjack players have written dozens of books that provide numerous blackjack strategies and outline winning card counting systems. Most books for learning blackjack stick to the basic rules of the game, easy betting strategies, and efficient card counting systems that even someone who’s bad at math can pick up. Other blackjack books delve into more complex strategies that are still simple to learn and simple to use at the blackjack table.
If you’re looking to learn blackjack from scratch or just advance from beginner blackjack player to experienced, you’ll find many blackjack books with the tips, tricks, and strategies to do so.
Must-Read Books for Blackjack Players
Here is our list of the 25 best books for learning blackjack and improving your game:
Top 10 Best Books for Learning Blackjack as a Beginner
Let’s take a look at what makes the top 10 blackjack books the best for beginners:
1. Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One
Written By: Edward O. Thorp
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Thorp is considered the Father of Card Counting because he was the first person to publish a card counting strategy and shake things up for casinos. Beat the Dealer is the pivotal book that launched card counting into the mainstream for casino goers. While it was originally published back in 1962, it’s since been updated and republished a few times with corrections and updates to Thorp’s original theories.
While you’re likely to find some outdated references and tips that won’t work in modern casinos, Beat the Dealer is the seminal text on how card counting works. You’ll find clear descriptions of card counting strategies for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players. He also has some fun, though potentially out-of-date tips on how to spot actual cheating in casinos, specifically at the blackjack table. This book is both a history lesson on the casino industry and a practical guide to counting cards, complete with charts and tables to help you visualize the strategies in action.
While we know David Sklansky now as a professional poker player, he also has quite a lot of experience playing blackjack. In 1999, after writing multiple books on poker (including The Theory of Poker), he published Sklansky Talks Blackjack to prove that this game that eludes many would-be players isn’t very hard to learn at all. Applying similar analytics and critical thinking that he uses in breaking down poker, Sklansky covers how to approach basically any blackjack hand you could be dealt, with simple explanations of the math behind every player decision. This book provides information on how the game works, basic strategies, and other tips for total beginners looking to play like a pro.
Lisenmeyer’s book is one of the most recent blackjack books on the market. Released in 2015, Modern Card Counting: Blackjack has just over 100 pages of really solid content for beginners and experienced players alike. He goes over different variations for multiple card counting systems and even breaks down a strategy of his own making: the Red Zen Count. He also has information about other topics in blackjack, like forming and playing as a team. You’ll also find strategy tables and an opportunity to print out your own flashcards to help you memorize the system.
4. Blackjack for Blood: The Card-Counters’ Bible, and Complete Winning Guide
Written By: Bryce Carlson
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Another recent title, Blackjack for Blood isn’t as violent as its title suggests. However, it does provide a lot of practical information for developing a cut-throat blackjack strategy without all the math. There’s some math talk, which is expected of a blackjack book, but Carlson focuses on the basic strategies and card counting systems, including the Omega II system. The book has three main tenets: picking a betting system and analyzing key decisions in the game, dealing with casino personnel if you’re confronted about advantage play, and keeping your cool under pressure. You’ll also learn how to hide your advantage play at the table.
Cardoza is an authority on strategy gambling, has written numerous books on multiple games, and owns Cardoza Publishing, which has brought 200+ gambling strategy books to players of all levels. So it’s no surprise that this book makes the top 5 in our list. When you read Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter, you aren’t bogged down with all the math talk that you might expect from blackjack books. That makes this book a lot more approachable for interested folks who may be intimidated by the math aspects of the game.
Cardoza teaches you how to develop an edge over the casino without having to count cards or use any complex systems. You’ll learn about shuffle tracking, front loading, back counting, different approaches to insurance, and more. This book is best for those just starting out and those who would be playing single-deck games. What’s more, the most recent version of the book also dives into playing online blackjack.
6. The Theory of Blackjack: The Compleat Card Counter’s Guide to the Casino Game of 21
Written By: Peter A. Griffin
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Griffin’s The Theory of Blackjack is another classic, considered the go-to text for learning the mathematics of the game. It’s a great starter for those who are decent at math and who are interested in learning the mathematical concepts that are used in the best card counting systems. As such, the book is very focused on the math aspect of the game. It even goes into determining how accurate a system is, playing efficiency, and basic strategy and card counting tips.
7. The 21st Century Card Counter: The Pros’ Approach to Beating Blackjack
Written By: Colin Jones
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Colin Jones started the Church Team, a blackjack card counting team. He also manages Blackjack Apprenticeship, an online resource for people learning to play and get better at the game, and leads Blackjack Bootcamps to train people in winning skills. He has a lot of teaching experience to draw on, which makes The 21st Century Card Counter such an important book for newbies.
It is the newest title on this list, having been published in 2019, and it makes the top 10 of our list for that reason. Jones’ book has the most up-to-date information on playing blackjack in the modern casino. His information helps you combat the changes that casinos have made to discourage card counting and maintain their edge. It also dispels the myth that card counting is illegal (though it is still discouraged). The book bridges the gap between classic texts with their somewhat timeless strategies and the modern blackjack player’s challenges at the table.
In this book, you’ll read real-life stories from the author and his colleagues and interviews with other professional blackjack players. It’s more than 300 pages of content, so it’s not a one-sitting kind of text. Prepare to read this over multiple days and even return to it to fully absorb all the info you can.
Humble and Cooper team up for the most comprehensive text on the game of blackjack. It held this title in the 1980s when it was published, and we can still say that, with 432 pages of information on blackjack, it still is. Edward O. Thorp even recommended it for beginners and advanced players.
The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book breaks down the Hi-Opt I system as its main strategy focus. But you’ll also find tons of information about playing in Vegas, Atlantic City, and in casinos around the world. The book evaluates what it’s like to play blackjack at many titan casinos, though these evaluations are likely outdated. But that section is chock-full of still-relevant tips for picking the right casino and picking the right dealer. You’ll also learn how to adapt your play style and strategy for at-home games, Vegas Night community events, and at the casino.
9. Playing Blackjack as a Business: A Textbook on Blackjack
Written By: Lawrence Revere
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Revere was considered a master of blackjack, having served in multiple roles in the casino industry. He was a pit boss, a dealer, and a professional blackjack player. Plus, he started playing blackjack when he was just 13 years old, so he has more experience with the game than most. Not to mention, he majored in mathematics, so he’s got the critical thinking and mathematical brain that makes for the best blackjack players.
Playing Blackjack as a Business is another classic blackjack book, but it stands out among the rest. Since Revere has worked in casinos and been a pro player himself, he provides his strategies and insights from both the player’s and casino’s perspectives.
Revere wrote this book to refine the more complex strategy laid out in Beat the Dealer. He outlines four of his own card counting systems. The strategies laid out in this book were developed in collaboration with then-IBM computer whiz Julian H. Braun to create the most effective blackjack system for the time. And they’re still applicable today.
10. Knock-Out Blackjack: The Easiest Card Counting System Ever Devised
Written By: Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs
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The Knock-Out systems are definitely some of the most refined and efficient card counting systems out there. In their book, Vancura and Fuchs get rid of the need for math-heavy card counting and introduce their system in a way that is very simple to understand. Knock-Out Blackjack outlines each of the two levels of the system: the Rookie (beginner level) and the Preferred (advanced/professional level). This newer approach was even given the stamp of approval by Edward O. Thorp and Arnold Snyder, whose books appear on our overall books for learning blackjack list.
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