Blackjack is a game of skill, which means you don’t really need to be talented to be good at it. What you do need to, however, is practice and work on your moves. The internet offers a tutorial on everything, but contrary to popular belief, you won’t learn blackjack by watching videos of fellow punters. You’ll learn blackjack by reading blackjack books and playing on your own.
Here are our favourite books on blackjack that every player who aspires for greatness should read.
Playing Blackjack to Win: A New Strategy for the Game of 21 (1957)
The first book on our reading list is Playing Blackjack to Win: A New Strategy for the Game of 2. Four authors stand behind the title – Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, James McDermott, and Roger Baldwin. All four are pros who wanted to give a well-rounded account of blackjack games to the audience. t is one of the earlier attempts to bring blackjack novices to advanced gameplay, having come out in 1957. In 2008, the readers got to enjoy a re-printed version of the book.
This book contains a comprehensive history of the game, but you might find it slightly outdated. Nevertheless, the book was a smashing success when it first hit the bookshelves and remains one of the most-read titles on every player’s blackjack reading list.
Beat the Dealer (1960)
We cannot talk about blackjack literature without mentioning Edward Thorpe’s 1962 book Beat the Dealer. Picture this: a mathematician who’s proficient in the game of 21 sets about writing a book on card counting. When it first came out, it became an instant classic. Las Vegas libraries even named it one of the most-read books!
The reason why Thorpe’s work was so popular is that it contains straightforward tips on card counting. Thorpe reasons that blackjack is all about math and influencing the edge.
As one of the most widespread techniques of advantage gambling, card counting represents the dream of every player who wants a successful career in blackjack. And having a book that explains it in simple terms, without fuss, but in great detail, is a recipe for success. The way Thorpe writes suits both novices and advanced learners of the game.
The Theory of Blackjack (1981)
The Theory of Blackjack is, like Beat the Dealer, a book about card counting. Except the author Peter A. Griffin focuses more on math and numbers behind the game. Griffin was a mathematician to the core and a blackjack expert, one of the original seven members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame. If you wonder how he got there, read his book.
You’ll find a simplified version and explanation for card counting, written in an immersive way that holds your attention from start to finish. An absolute classic that has been a favourite among famous blackjack books since its release. It’s great for live casino players who enjoy real-time blackjack action.
Blackbelt in Blackjack (2005)
Arnold Snyder, the author of Blackbelt in Blackjack, added his work a subtitle: Playing 21 as a Martial Art. As interesting as it sounds, the book reveals one of the most practical approaches to advantage gambling we’ve ever seen.
If you ever wanted to dive deeper into advantage gambling techniques – besides card counting, that is – this book is the starting point. It features a plethora of exciting advantage gambling methods, including shuffle tracking.
When it comes to card counting options, he made sure to include detailed explanations of several card counting systems. The most famous, Hi-Lo, is introduced right next to the Zen Count and Red 7. The book came out in 2005, but despite the 15+ years that have passed since its release, it remains one of the most pragmatic books to boost blackjack skills.
Sklansky Talks Blackjack (1999)
David Sklansky, a professional gambler and teacher, realized somewhere during the 1990s that professional blackjack books aren’t helping the players. He saw how blackjack charts confused them, and even the most brilliant players lost their way around these charts. He wanted to change that.
In his book Sklansky Talks Blackjack, Sklansky introduces the readers to a fun yet thorough strategy for handling hands in blackjack. He covers every possible hand you might get and explains what to do – and everything makes perfect sense.
No more confusion, no more overanalyzing moves and hands. Grab this book and find out how to navigate the dangerous waters of blackjack charts, complex math, and card counting methods. His captivating writing style grips your attention and makes you understand every single word without ever feeling overwhelmed or confused.
A Couple of Words More
Our team picked a list of the top five blackjack books every player should read. But we don’t think this list covers everything. Dozens of books on this topic exist, each with unique math, counting, and betting systems approach.
Before you dive deeper into blackjack literature, we strongly recommend reading through these five books and then switching to something more suitable for advanced players.