4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A Classic From the Stone Age of Card Counting, Jul 29, 2023
"Beat the Dealer" is a really good, old blackjack book. Edward Thorp's information is as good as blackjack information gets. Every serious blackjack player should have a copy of this book, well read, tucked away somewhere.
But, most players really don't need the kind of detail that Thorp gets into. He is a serious mathematician and obviously enjoys discussing all of the minute variations with all kinds of blackjack varieties. Even for experienced players who might just need a refresher, it is over the top. Like the other two great blackjack classics:
"Professional Blackjack" by Stanford Wong and
"The Theory of Blackjack" by Peter Griffin;
it is similar to when the cavemen first discovered fire: they were so excited about it, they didn't really have it in proper perspective. Card counting isn't all that difficult.
The effectiveness of card counting in blackjack rests on the fact that it is more favorable for the player to make bigger bets when the remaining undealt cards contain a higher than average proportion of large cards, principally 10's and Aces. When the undealt cards contain a smaller than average proportion of big cards (more small cards), the game is more favorable for the house, so the players should make smaller bets then, or stop playing. As Griffin, Wong and Thorp explain, any number of methods for keeping track of the ratio of high cards to low cards will serve as an effective method of card counting.
Currently, the best book on blackjack, one that blows away all the fog, isn't even dedicated to just blackjack.
"How to Gamble at the Casinos Without Getting Plucked Like a Chicken"
does a great job of explaining how to play profitable blackjack. First and foremost, it tells you not to play the lousy varieties, like 8 deck blackjack or 6-5 blackjack or Spanish Blackjack. In about 30 pages, it tells you everything you really need to know about blackjack, without all the bs.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful:
An Antiquated Classic, Mar 19, 2023
"Beat the Dealer" is actually a classic, but its 10 count system is too difficult to be implemented by anyone except Rainman. Although this book is important in the history of card counting, it is not the best place to learn how to really play Blackjack. Any number of card counting methods have better efficiency ratings than the antiquated method outlined in this book.
If you are just learning to play Blackjack, a good choice is "How to Gamble at the Casinos Without Getting Plucked Like a Chicken". It contains a first-rate introduction to Blackjack and card counting that is both easy to understand and effective enough to make you a consistent winner without having to have a PhD in mathematics. In addition, it contains a wealth of information on all the other casino games.
For an overview of several different card counting systems you should consider "Blackjack Bluebook II: the simplest winning strategies ever published". It does a respectable job of covering different card counting systems. Note, however, that it is at a more difficult level than the title would lead you to believe.
When your Blackjack skills need a final polish and you are ready to commit to some serious study and memorization, you should work on "Professional Blackjack". It is a solid Blackjack reference book. Its coverage of the Hi-Lo counting method and Wong's Halves method is unsurpassed.
If what you are looking for is a solid piece of Blackjack history, then "Beat the Dealer" is the book you want. It was there at the beginning.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
Where Card Counting Started, Mar 2, 2023
"Beat the Dealer" is where card counting started. It was the culmination of Dr. Thorp's mathematical studies on blackjack. With this book, he distilled one of first practical methods of determining when the remaining deck was favorable enough for the player to gain an advantage. Although ancient by most measures, it is a landmark book.
Like "Professional Blackjack" by Stanford Wong and "The Theory of Blackjack" by Peter Griffin, it is a well-written, serious book that requires more than a little effort on the part of the reader. For those who are not serious "number people", these books can be more than they ever really wanted to know about blackjack. They are, however, well worth the effort.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Blackjack books which promise the moon. They should be avoided. Blackjack is not something you can get-rich-quick at. The really first-rate blackjack books, like "Beat the Dealer", don't promise more than they can deliver. They tend to stick to the facts.
In this regard, another really first-rate book is "How to Gamble at the Casinos Without Getting Plucked Like a Chicken" by James Harrison Ford. It covers all the casino games and its overview of blackjack, although not as detailed as the heavier tomes, provides some important perspective that can keep you from getting lost in the woods.
In addition to "Beat the Dealer", every gambling library should contain these books. Even at the minimum of $5 a hand in most casinos, a few hours of play can add up to some serious money. The time and expense involved in buying and reading a few good books is quite small compared to the time and expense put at risk when you play blackjack for money.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful:
***** The Foundation of Card Counting *****, Dec 8, 2022
"Beat The Dealer" by Edward O. Thorp is still difficult to beat. Even though it is now quite ancient by current standards, it is still right on target. Everyone who is serious about blackjack has read this book , has a copy of it tucked away somewhere and re-reads it from time to time. This book, with help from Dr. Thorp's: "The Mathematics of Gambling", is responsible for most of the Las Vegas casinos asking me to take my blackjack business elsewhere.
This book, as a follow up and summary of Dr. Thorp's technical papers, is truly the foundation stone for card counting. Although improvements have been made in card counting systems (see: Wong's "Professional Blackjack" or Ford's "How to Gamble at the Casinos Without Getting Plucked Like a Chicken") none has improved on the basic principles this book sets forth..
There is no better place to start an education in blackjack than by reading this book. Just remember, the pit bosses can read, too.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Fantastic, Feb 4, 2023
This book explains the history of how card counting started and details the strategy that he used. I think the book is interesting cause it is not just a manual on how to count cards it also tells a story on how Mr. Thorp tested his theory in vegas.
If you like this book I would also recommend getting "Bringing the house down" which is a book about some people that utilized Mr. Thorps techniques to win a lot of money if vegas.