According to a recent report from UNLV Gaming Research, there are more than 1700 blackjack tables collectively at Las Vegas Strip (1350), Downtown (220), and Boulder Strip (150) casinos in Las Vegas. Typical casino house edge for accurate blackjack basic strategy players who wisely select 'good' games with decent player-favorable rules ( see previous blackjack articles linked below) is approximately within .19% to .63% for most games over the long haul. The effects of unavoidable mathematical variance (wild outcome swings, standard deviation, or 'poor lady luck' as voiced by most players) can greatly alter short-term outcomes despite long-term low house edge numbers for blackjack.
Those above 1700+ tables average win % (hold) from Las Vegas blackjack players in 2013 averaged between 11.36 and 13.37 % ( vs the average .5% long-term house edge); the described casinos actual win was just over $1 billion from Vegas blackjack players last year according to tabulated figures from the report.
Blackjack is a game of skill and the above was provided as evidence (and motivation) that players can improve their game in many ways. One resource that can be used to accomplish that end is to read and study time-tested books that describe tools and methods to play this game the right way. Seriously interested players can eventually learn advantage play techniques ( eg card counting) if desired through these resources and practice effort. Most Las Vegas blackjack players don't care about basic strategy or selecting a game with decent rules/payoffs and the casino win described above partially proves that.
The following 20 resources represent our picks as the best blackjack books. It is not an all-inclusive list and many other useful and 'correct-play' resources are certainly available. Some on this list are appropriate for novice players and others are for serious advantage players. Many of the entries here were initially published years ago but their applications are still sound and apply currently for today's games. In fact, there are several classics listed here. Forerunners of the game and their works provided a foundation for future players to expand, refine, re-refine, and simplify systems that are useful today. These books all tout the appropriate math of the game conducive to playing it the way it should be played. None of the following works promote progressive betting systems as a sole means to beat blackjack...those systems simply do not work in the long run.
Top 20 Blackjack Books of All Time (our version): Check provided links for more info / purchase options.
- The World's Greatest Blackjack Book by Lance Humble and Carl Cooper ; Despite the somewhat vain title, this entry is suitable for beginners as it provides a good basic introduction to game description, odds, and strategies. Providing broad coverage of the game, it also addresses card counting in a readable format.
- Bootlegger's 200 Proof Blackjack by Mike Turner; This great A-Z blackjack resource is quite suitable for new players, though it delves into some of the finer points of advantage play.
- Basic Blackjack by Stanford Wong; This book is a comprehensive guide to blackjack basic strategy and rule variations. Great book for new players authored by a renowned theorist and player.
- Fundamentals of 21 by Mason Malmuth & Lynne Loomis ; This is a good introductory work including basic strategies and an introduction to the Hi-Lo counting system.
- Beat The Dealer by Edward O Thorp ; This landmark classic blackjack book provided the first publicly available card counting strategy allowing players to actually beat the game with some consistency. This work turned the Vegas casinos on their ears and eventually paved the way for blackjack to become the most popular table game in the world. This is a must-read for any serious blackjack player due to it's historical importance.
- Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong ; This entry is a classic authored by a classic theorist and player that is likely the best available reference on the popular Hi-Lo card counting system.
- Blackjack For Blood by Bryce Carlson ; This book outlines a successful big-stakes player's methods and systems to beat casino blackjack. Thorough descriptions of the Omega II counting system and related betting strategies are provided.
- Modern Blackjack - An Illustrated Guide to Blackjack Advantage Play by Norm Wattenberger ; This free online book covers the gamut of advantage play methods. The author describes early errors in his blackjack career which are great lessons for the rest of us. This is simply an excellent free online resource.
- Blackjack Attack, 3rd Edition by Don Schlesinger ; This resource has evolved into a professional blackjack player's math bible. It is not a text for beginners. The recognized player-author is noted for statistical perfectionism and the result is a mainstay reference material for advantage players. The author was the developer of the 'Illustrious 18' strategy / betting variation system which is described in detail in the book.
- Burning the Tables in Las Vegas by Ian Andersen ; The author is considered one of the top blackjack players of all time based on winnings. The core theme in this work is application of cover plays and camouflage for advantage players which can contribute to their survival under today's playing conditions.
- The Big Book of Blackjack by Arnold Snyder ; This work lives up to it's subtitle claim...'Everything you've ever wanted to know about blackjack'. It includes blackjack history, description and application of the author's Red Seven count, team play, alternate game strategies, and much more.
- The Theory of Blackjack by Peter Griffin ; Players interested in the academic / mathematical aspects behind blackjack play methods will appreciate this classic text. Much of the earlier statistical work for strategies and counting systems are included in this book. This is not a book for novices or non-math folks.
- Blackjack Bluebook II by Fred Renzey ; This work is another A - Z blackjack resource but provides some interesting yet sound twists on the game and advantage play. The author's entry level (KISS) and advanced (Mentor) counting systems are presented in a very readable text with hit-home descriptions.
- Knock - Out Blackjack by Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs ; This resource describes the Knock - Out unbalanced counting system that is easier to employ and almost as powerful for playing and betting decisions as more traditional systems such as Hi - Lo.
- Winning Blackjack For the Serious Player by Edwin Silberstang ; This is a good introduction to the game with broad coverage of strategies, an intro level counting system, and the importance of true counts in advantage play systems.
- Play Blackjack Like the Pros by Kevin Blackwood ; This work is very broad in coverage including basic strategy, different levels of advantage play, team play, blackjack tournaments, and betting systems / money management. The author lived the text.
- How to Play Winning Blackjack by Julian Braun ; This ebook (hard copy originally published in 1980) really delves into the math-based approaches behind basic strategy from an expert. It is a classic and includes the author's count system description.
- Comp City : A Guide to Free Casino Vacations by Max Rubin ; Though not strictly limited to blackjack topics, this book is a great guide for blackjack players in their quests to acquire comps from the casinos. Blackjack is referred to as the main 'vehicle' to accrue comps from gambling efforts. Acquiring comps from blackjack play in Las Vegas (or anywhere) adds real dollar expected value from play.
- Blackjack Blueprint by Rick Blaine ; This entry covers topics extending from basic strategy to much more complex advantage play techniques. It is presented in a very readable text.
- Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere ; This classic work provides clear, succinct coverage of basic strategy methods / systems, betting strategies, and application of three different count systems.