Greatest Blackjack Books that Actually Help Today

Blackjack Strategy Books – The Good, the Bad, and the Superannuated

Blackjack Strategy Books – The Good, the Bad, and the Superannuated

Blackjack has been around for several centuries now. Variations of its rules appear in literature dating back to the very early 1600s, albeit under different names. It wasn’t until the game really caught on in North America that the first blackjack strategy guides were published. The most famous of the 20th century was Edward O. Thorp’s 1962 book, Beat The Dealer. The paperback edition sold over 700,000 copies, easily reaching Best Seller status in Times Magazine and the New York Times.

If you were looking to buy a blackjack tutorial that’s proven its weight in gold, Thorp’s Beat the Dealer would be it, right? Back then, yes. Now? Not so much. There’s a reason we call Thorp’s volume, “the book that made Las Vegas change the rules”. That sentiment answers the question of why it’s become superannuated.

A lot of the all time best blackjack books suffer the same fate. That goes for Ken Uston’s Million Dollar Blackjack (1981), as well as Stanford Wong’s Professional Blackjack (1994). It doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from them, but you won’t learn to beat the house. To do that, you’re going to need to upgrade your book selection to more current materials that are relevant in today’s casino environment; not just the terrestrial landscape either, but online and mobile gambling communities.

Choosing the Best Blackjack Books & Guides in the 2020s

Finding the right strategy book isn’t so easy these days. Blackjack isn’t like poker. You can’t just go by the fame and professional prowess of the author. As I mentioned in our Pro Blackjack Players of Canada section, advantage players have to keep a very low profile. Once the casinos identify a player as a professional, they can slap a ban on them. Once that happens, a player loses all access to the casino’s gaming floor

Please note that casinos don’t ban advantage players because count cards id illegal; it’s not. They do it simply because they can. Casinos in North America have special rights. In Nevada, for example, casinos are “private clubs”. That gives them the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. In Atlantic City, casinos can’t kick a player out for counting cards. However, they can discourage card counting by reshuffling the deck, or replacing the shoe, as often as they like. Thus, card counting becomes entirely ineffective.

So, as players, we are left to deal with the irritating problem of not knowing whose books to turn to for accurate, modern-day advice. The way I see it, you have two options. You can either trust X-professionals; retirees from the game who are still authoring strategies. Or, you can trust the latest works of savant-grade mathematicians.

Those mathematicians aren’t wrong, but many of them don’t have the hands-on experience to teach anything beyond the math behind the game. With that in mind, we must conclude that the best blackjack strategy books, still relevant in today’s live and online casinos, must come from the real professionals.

New Books From Old Pros

Even the latest publications from the world’s most famous blackjack pros are getting old. Fortunately, there are a couple of options, coming to print in the current century, that are worth your time. The first two are:

The Big Book of Blackjack (2006) and Radical Blackjack (2021) by Arnold Snyder

I suggest reding these two books cover to cover, and back to back. The first, The Big Book of Blackjack, will teach you everything you need to know about blackjack rules and card counting, with nine chapters on ‘How to Beat’ specific game variants, including Double Exposure, Over/Under 13, Spanish 21 and more.

The next book, Radical Blackjack, only teaches things never-before published in any of Snyder’s books. These include tactics like shuffle-tracking, hole-carding, edge-sorting, loss rebates for mid- and high-stakes players (even at online casinos), and more. In Arnold’s own words, Radical Blackjack will teach you, “to think like a professional gambler”.

The 21st Century Card Counter: The Pro’s Approach to Beating Today’s Blackjack (2019) by Colin Jones

That’s a really long title! But it describes exactly what you can expect to get out of this book. If you don’t recognize him by name, Colin is the man behind the 2008 launch of He was also the mastermind of the Church Team. One of the largest and most successful blackjack teams in North America, the story of Church Team was told in the award-winning documentary Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians. If you enjoy this book enough, you may also take an interest in joining one of his Blackjack Bootcamps, held regularly in Las Vegas.

Blackjack Bluebook II: The Simplest Winning Strategies Ever Published (2017) by Fred Renzey

Renzey’s second edition of Blackjack Bluebook is an updated guide to casino blackjack. It focuses on how to accurately play the game with a realistic chance of beating the casino. It’s brimming with basic strategy information, multiple color-coded charts and hand illustrations. There’s a section on ‘What Comes After Basic Strategy’, which provides advice on specific times when it’s proper to deviate from basic strategy. It also covers things like blackjack side bets and common misconceptions.

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George Thomson is a Bitcoin enthusiast and all around crypto currency nerd... When he's not busy researching crypto, he likes hiking the national parks of British Columbia . He lives in an eco-friendly home with his wife Jana and their two daughters, Sandra and Rose. His favorite word is "sustainability".
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