Playing blackjack for fun is one thing, but doing it for real money and with real knowledge is a skill. It takes time and devotion to master the infamous game of Twenty-One.
Everyone wants to beat blackjack but few know where to start.
What if we told you we know how?
To achieve this goal, we turned to literature.
Enthusiasts at CasinosOnline.com browsed our blackjack library in search of the best blackjack books ever written. Whether it’s card counting you’re learning or the perfect basic strategy you’re striving to master, you’ll find wisdom in these volumes.
To keep the list as unbiased as possible, we listed the tomes in chronological order.
- Playing Blackjack to Win: A New Strategy for the Game of 21
- Beat the Dealer – Edward O. Thorp
- Professional Blackjack – Stanford Wong
- Blackjack Attack – Don Schlesinger
- Million Dollar Blackjack – Ken Uston
- Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich
- Bootlegger’s 200 Proof Blackjack: A Survival Guide for Playing the Tables – Mike “Bootlegger” Turner
- Blackjack Bluebook II – the Simplest Winning Strategies Ever Published! – Fred Renzey
- Repeat until Rich – Josh Axelrad
- The 21st-Century Card Counter: The Pros’ Approach to Beating Today’s Blackjack – Colin Jones
- Honorable Mentions
- Before You Start Reading…
Here are the best 10 books about blackjack. You’ve probably heard about some of them, but it’s time to actually pick them up.
1. Playing Blackjack to Win: A New Strategy for the Game of 21 (1957)
Playing Blackjack to Win contains the comprehensive history of the casino game and its first strategies. While slightly obsolete today, the book is a great choice for anyone who’s been in the game for a while and wants to know more.
Talking about the origins of card counting, the four authors set the foundation for all upcoming writers after them. They even implemented important glossary that’s used even today.
Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott, the authors, were the so-called Four Horsemen of Aberdeen. Thanks to their calculations, future players inherited an almost spotless blackjack basic strategy. Additionally, the four men provided an elementary card-counting system that still lives today.
The four casino devotees garnered their knowledge and put it into a tome in 1957. The first publication was an extremely limited edition. Fortunately, it was re-published in 2008, facilitating many players’ career paths.
Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel and McDermott provided an invaluable contribution to the gambling world. From Playing Blackjack to Win, one can learn a lot about both the history and tactics required to beat it. As for the 2008 edition, readers can find a foreword from Edward O. Thorp, the author of the next item on our 10 must-read books for every blackjack player.
2. Beat the Dealer – Edward O. Thorp (1962)
If you want to play blackjack for real money, you’d want to beat the dealer. And we like us a straightforward title. With his 1962 blackjack book, Thorp proved that blackjack is a game unlike any other. In Twenty-One, you actually stand a chance against the dealer. All you need is just a bit of maths.
Looking at its publication date, one can easily deduce that this book got it all started. Beat the Dealer is a classic and most of its points are still applicable today, almost 60 years later.
In Beat the Dealer, Ed Thorp lays down the timeline of card counting. The author goes in-depth to clarify to a casual reader what Twenty-One is intrinsically about. Whilst a game, it is one of skills. As such, it can be pliable and feasible to conquer.
To give you an idea what this blackjack book is about, we’ll give you its base point. Thorp maintains that blackjack is the only game that has dependent variables. When a card leaves the shoe, it will return no more. That’s where the player’s advantage lies.
Beat the Dealer ranks among the best blackjack books for beginners. The narrative is direct and his storytelling skills are simple to follow. However, as Mr Thorp is a mathematics professor with a strong academic background, he goes further than just the bedrock. His knowledge of Twenty-One shines through every page. Seasoned gamblers will profit from this read as much as novices.
Edward Thorp’s nickname is the father of card counting. At the time, his Beat the Dealer was the so-called most popular book in the Las Vegas public library. It is time for you to see why.
3. Professional Blackjack – Stanford Wong (1975)
One of the best blackjack counting books is Stanford Wong’s 1975 masterpiece Professional Blackjack. Thanks to it, many amateur punters had their interest in card counting sparked.
Professional Blackjack is a comprehensive guide to card counting that you should keep in your pocket at all times. Wong laid down all the resources you might need. The book holds all the charts and calculations telling you what move to make.
It will require some effort and concentration to churn through the whole thing. After all, maths has been Stanford Wong’s hobby for almost his entire life. He reinforces all his statements with solid, valid arguments that are impossible to dismiss.
Particularly, Wong focuses on clarifying the popular Hi-Lo counting system. If you don’t know where to start with it, this is your stop.
The man became so notorious in Atlantic City for his winning streaks that the locals coined the term “wonging”. To wong meant to beat the table by using Stanford Wong’s blackjack strategy. In plain English, according to Wong, you shouldn’t play when the casino has the advantage. Don’t play after a shuffle, but rather watch and wait for the optimal moment. Wait until you get to a decent plus count and then jump in.
Twenty-One is also a game of psychological tricks and other factors you should consider. Mr Wong explains that players don’t just go into a casino and win all the time. On the contrary, the temporal winning percentage is only around 2%. It is all about waiting for that perfect point to attack.
With the author’s rational approach to the casino game and clear descriptions, everyone should be able to take on wonging. If you have any doubt that counting cards for blackjack works, you should give this book a go.
4. Blackjack Attack – Don Schlesinger (1997)
If you’re looking for the blackjack books for beginners, you might want to skip to number 5. Blackjack Attack by Don Schlesinger is perfect for seasoned gamblers. It is not a beginners’ book so it might drive you away with its complexity. So, cover all the other volumes on the list and then return to Schlesinger’s chef-d'oeuvre.
Blackjack Attack, other than a resounding name, boasts a detailed and thorough study on the nature of blackjack. Viewing Twenty-One not as a casino game but as a complex idea of intricate mathematical formulas, Schlesinger goes deeper than anyone else ever has.
To Don Schlesinger, Twenty-One is more than a form of entertainment. Instead, it is a temple of skill, extreme concentration and great devotion. Almost a craft in Schlesinger’s eyes, blackjack in this book is portrayed as an equation for players to solve.
Don Schlesinger teaches the reader that they don’t have to learn every game deviation by rote to win. Many punters are misguided by this notion. According to the author’s research, around 20 deviations are necessary to be able to manoeuvre with others. Finally, he wraps up by discussing the optimal number of spots to play.
What’s more, the writer of the best blackjack book ever written explores the pros and cons of team play. As a successful card counter, the author is well-acquainted with the skill and blankets it with his experience.
It’s a grandly math-based book with a lot of terminologies so it’s definitely not suitable for amateurs. However, once you’ve gone through all other good blackjack books on this page, you should return to Blackjack Attack. In our book, you cannot be a professional without having read this gem.
5. Million Dollar Blackjack – Ken Uston (1998)
Do you want to learn how to play blackjack? Grab your copy of Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston today.
The author of the 1998 bestseller claims that anyone can learn to play. And anyone can make a living out of the famous Twenty-One. You just need some persistence and patience. And the knowledge from this book, obviously.
Similar to Thorp, Uston states that blackjack is incomparable to any other casino game. In contrast to, say, roulette, craps or keno, winning at the “21” is easy if you have the required knowledge. The following chapters go on to explain why this fact matters and how you, a player, can use it to your advantage.
Million Dollar Blackjack is a suitable blackjack book for beginners because it goes from the ground up. It is a 300+ page read so it includes all the rudimentary information as well as advanced betting systems. One notable feature in this read is the Uston Ace-Five Count method. Owing to this strategy, Uston has been able to beat numerous tables around the world.
Additionally, the author of this amazing blackjack book briefly examines double-deck games and their pros and flaws. As an extra, you’ll get some tips & tricks that Uston figured out along the way.
Furthermore, in the final few chapters, Ken Uston debates the legal and illegal side of the game and other technicalities. A professional player, says Uston, needs to be aware of all aspects of playing the “21”.
And perhaps the coolest thing is that you can get the Million Dollar Blackjack book as a .pdf for free. We encourage you to scrabble about the internet or simply purchase blackjack books on Amazon.
6. Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich (2003)
Not to be mistaken for the same year comedy starring Steve Martin, Bringing Down the House is a must-read for every blackjack player.
Fitting for all tiers of expertise, the 2003 blackjack book served as the core inspiration two blockbusters – 21 and The Last Casino. In this volume, Ben Mezrich details the gambling journey of 6 M.I.T. students who gained millions playing blackjack for real money.
The six notorious punters are eponymous for team play in blackjack. Leading characters in the book, Kevin Lewis, Jason Fisher and Micky Rosa, represent the personalities of the six devotees who infamously brought down the house.
It doesn’t take an English Literature student to identify the glorification of blackjack in this novel. Nevertheless, the narrative never drew us away from this compelling read. On the contrary, we had the adulation in common with the author.
If you need that incentive to get you started with Twenty-One, Bringing Down the House might be just the one. However, don’t stop with this book about blackjack. To beat blackjack, one needs to remain grounded and composed. Elusive tomes like this one can easily romanticize the game for the uninformed.
Bringing Down the House is not merely a book about blackjack strategy; it’s an enjoyable, glorious piece of fiction. It represents the game in a slightly exaggerated manner, making it seem “cool” and edgy. Not that it isn’t. Many classify the Ben Mezrich novel non-fiction, but just as many people would declare it excessive. Something like the 1989 best picture Rain Man, Bringing Down the House glamorizes the casino game. Nevertheless, this book about blackjack is worthy of your time.
7. Bootlegger’s 200 Proof Blackjack: A Survival Guide for Playing the Tables – Mike “Bootlegger” Turner (2005)
Back to handbooks and moving on to more recent releases, we present to you Bootlegger’s pathfinder.
While presenting the “21” as one of the most thrilling casino games ever, Turner also focuses on the practical side of things. Setting all heuristics aside, Mr Bootlegger delves into a detailed analysis on how to 100% win at blackjack. The positive outcome requires expertise, skill and attention. Anyone can do it; you just need to want it badly enough.
Bootlegger’s 200 Proof is an adequate blackjack book for beginners. Why? Because it kicks off by briefing the reader on the basics of the game. Before you get to advanced levels, an outstanding player should master the perfect basic strategy. At least that’s what Mike “Bootlegger” Turner believes.
In Turner’s book, you’ll realize the importance of bankroll management in playing blackjack for real money. Knowing when to deposit is just as important as determining how much you should wager on what hand.
Pivotally, in Bootlegger’s 200 Proof, you’ll find the most common blackjack mistakes and how to avoid them. Out of all on this list, this is arguably the best-rounded book, covering all general topics and details alike.
Another important point is that Bootlegger’s book is far from a tedious, instructive manual. Sure, it will tell you to do this-and-that, but in an approachable even humorous manner. Moreover, images, charts and examples are featured in every chapter, so readers will be engaged throughout.
Ultimately, Turner included a pocket-sized manual that you can take with you to a land-based casino. But be careful as many casinos frown upon those.
Check out sales of blackjack books on Amazon for bargains of this must-have blackjack manual. Also, the interested can read the first 50 pages of Bootlegger’s guide among online blackjack books .pdf.
8. Blackjack Bluebook II – the Simplest Winning Strategies Ever Published! – Fred Renzey (2006)
Out of all the books about blackjack, The Blackjack Bluebook II must be the most commercially focused one.
This is a direct guidebook for anyone who’s interested in the best blackjack strategies. We’d also recommend the Blackjack Bluebook II to beginners because of its simplicity and systematic approach. For anyone looking to legitimately win at a brick-and-mortar or online casino, this is the book for you!
As such a popular read, the Bluebook II is often out of stock on Amazon, but you might be able to find it as a blackjack book in .pdf format. It’s a relatively quick read, with only around 220 pages and an easy-to-follow style. This paperback was originally published in 1997; thus the number 2 in the 2006 republication’s title.
Fred Renzey’s revamped book overrides its predecessor’s content. The second book includes a few previously unexamined strategies. These encompass the Magnificent 7 Hands, the Ace/10 Front Count and interacting with other players’ hands.
Akin to Bootlegger, Renzey turns to the KISS system (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when it comes to Twenty-One. If you’re into straight-forward, laid-out books with plain information and a clean-cut plan, grab your copy of Blackjack Bluebook II right now!
9. Repeat until Rich – Josh Axelrad (2010)
The book’s subtitle is A Professional Card Counter's Chronicle of the Blackjack Wars, so it’s clear what Axelrad will be talking about.
To anyone looking to be a professional card counter, we’d strongly suggest this book about blackjack. While many tomes in our blackjack library talk about the perfect blackjack strategy, Repeat until Rich delves into the psychological side of things. Namely, Josh Axelrad focuses on the attitude every professional blackjack player needs to learn and acquire. If you want to be successful at the tables, Axelrad declares, you need to have the right position.
If you ask us, Repeat until Rich is a lot like modern psychology for blackjack card counting. It teaches you how to display the right amount of aggression at the table to beat it. Moreover, Axelrad does a terrific job motivating readers not to be afraid to go all-in when need be.
Should you need a bit of a tailwind for your play, turn to Repeat until Rich by Josh Axelrad. He used to play on a large-scale team and learned a lot en route. In his book, he arrays all his wisdom and expertise in plain sight.
On top of it all, Axelrad is a marvellous storyteller and knows how to deliver a captivating tale. With the right attitude and immaculate writing, he convinced us to try out new blackjack strategies we’d never tried before.
10. The 21st-Century Card Counter: The Pros’ Approach to Beating Today’s Blackjack – Colin Jones (2019)
Right, we need the foundation to build on it. But we also need innovation and applicability in modern times. That’s were Colin Jones from Blackjack Apprenticeship stepped in. In 2019, he and his team published a book with Huntington Press. It is an all-encompassing guide that, in a way, summarizes all the above approaches and goes a step farther.
Reportedly, blackjack originates from the 17th century. Over the years, it has developed tremendously. To date, it’s a never-ending battle between players and casinos over who’s getting the edge. With The 21st-Century Card Counter, you’ll get familiar with approaches that apply in today’s game of Twenty-One.
Vingt-un is one of the most mysterious games that retained its original form and managed to evolve at the same time. Gamblers all over the world strive to beat the house edge with card counting and the Hi-Lo system. But some do it better than others. By some, we mean Colin Jones. The author was so generous as to share his sagacity with potential blackjack players in this comprehensive study.
The 21st-Century Card Counter is one of the best blackjack counting books in the world. It is a didactic piece of literature which also includes details from the author’s private life. He tells us how he started playing the game and what got him into card counting.
In fact, you can read the first chapter on his website for free as a blackjack book in .pdf format. We’re sure you’ll feel compelled to read more. Then grab a physical copy, lull back into your favorite chair and let blackjack open to you like a book.
We promised the best blackjack books ever written and we delivered. But as there are so many of them on the market, we decided to include two honorable mentions.
Check out our final picks for top blackjack books.
Burning the Tables in Las Vegas – Ian Anderson (1999)
In his two books – Turning the Tables in Las Vegas and Burning the Tables in Las Vegas, Ian Anderson draws a timeline of blackjack from the early 1970s until contemporary times.
To an extent, we’d compare Burning the Tables to Axelrad's Repeat until Rich. Both books talk about the psychology of being a card counter. However, Anderson addresses the matter of how to act to get a lot of playing time. In other words, if you want to learn how to last in blackjack, read Burning the Tables in Las Vegas.
We didn’t include in our top 10s for one reason only – it’s slightly outdated. Some methods from the book are completely inapplicable in the 21st century Twenty-One. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting read because it makes you think of casino games like a businessman. After all, the book’s subtitled Keys to Success in Blackjack and in Life. It tells you how to translate your blackjack skills onto your personal problem-solving.
The Blackjack Insiders – Andrew Uyal (2019)
Finally, we’ll conclude this list with one of the best blackjack books for beginners. The Blackjack Insiders is an inspiring story of a former pit boss that turned into a professional blackjack player. It doesn’t rank among the blackjack counting books, but it’s rather a real-life narrative, which we love.
Andrew Uyal wrote this book intentionally fluctuating between fiction and non-fiction. Subtitled How Two Pit Bosses Beat the Casinos at Their Own Game, the read is so well-written that you’ll be thinking about it for days later.
Blackjack in books is often covered in an idolized manner, but not in the Blackjack Insiders. Andrew Uyal does a fantastic job keeping his feet on the ground all the way. All in all, The Blackjack Insiders covers both sides of the game – the house and the conqueror. The knowledge in this good book gives you a perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a rare gem that you shouldn’t miss. Just wait for that plot twist, though.
Before You Start Reading…
Casino gambling is one of the most influential industries in the world. It boomed in the 1990s and continued to captivate millions of gamblers worldwide.
Blackjack, as one of the most played and sought after casino games, is also one the most written about. From the books we featured in this article, you’ll learn all the special tips and tricks you need to be a professional blackjack player.
If you need something to get you into blackjack for real money, this is it.
We believe we managed to present the releases without spoiling too much. Also, we hope we got you interested in what’s inside the mysterious covers. Let us know what you think and see you in the next article!