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Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One (Vintage) Mass Market Paperback


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Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One (Vintage) + Professional Blackjack + Blackjack for Blood: The Card-Counters' Bible, and Complete Winning Guide
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage
  • Mass Market Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Revised edition (April 12, 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394703103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394703107
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 4.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A winning strategy for the game of 21. The essentials, consolidated in simple charts, can be understood and memorized by the average player.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
32
4 star
11
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4
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The results were very interesting.
M. Kelson
I doubt this will help much if you are in a game with multiple decks...good though.
NM
I gave this book 5 stars for a couple different reasons.
Gcouabeginnter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By K. Morris on November 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book started it all. Before this book, only a very few people knew about card counting, and most only had primitive systems. Thorp analyzed the game, ran computer simulations, and devised two effective strategies for beating the casinos at their own games.
Can you run out and use these systems today against the casinos? Sure, but over 30 years have gone by and there are now simpler more effective systems. But if you are naturally gifted at doing complex calculations in your head quickly, I think the 10 count system would still be wickedly effective.
Buy it for the theory and the stories. Then go out and buy a newer book with simpler more modern counting systems.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I totally disagree with the other reviewers who say this book is "no longer relevant". It is the definitive guide to Blackjack's "Basic Strategy" plus provides a fascinating historical perspective on how Thorp ran the computer simulations to develop the Basic Strategy and test it in Nevada casinos back in the early '60's. What the other reviewers say is true, that the methods Thorp used (card counting) to make a lot of money back in the '60's no longer work today, but that doesn't diminish the value of the book. The casinos were changing the rules and "shutting down" the big opportunities before Thorp even finished the book. But that isn't the measure of the value of the book (although it is testimony to how powerful Thorps's insights were when first developed).
Everyone playing Blackjack (one deck or out of a shoe) should be playing "Basic Strategy" at a minimum. If you want to implement some other strategy on top of that (changing bet size, card counting, etc. etc.) have at it. But the starting point should be Basic Strategy.
Furthermore, the average recreational Blackjack player should be playing Basic Strategy, but many (most? -- at the cheaper tables anyway) don't as you can observe by sitting down at any Blackjack table.
This book should be read by anyone who wants to play Blackjack.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Terry MacDonald on February 17, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the definitive guide to Blackjack Basic Strategy and the history of card counting. I really don't think there is another book other there with clarity and depth, its not wonder it started a revolution. People who are crazy enough to dismiss this book for its age don't realize how fascinating the history is or how relevant his strategies still are today. In fact, I'm always surprised by how few people at blackjack tables know the basic strategy - although I'm happy to have the advantage.

Thorp's breakthrough insight to casino completely changed the game, and I enjoy reading about him. Just recently someone published an early book of his that looks like a doctoral thesis, which I recommend to fellow number junkies out there. The math that you may miss from Beat the Dealer is all there! Check it out: A Winning Bet in Nevada Baccarat
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are looking to learn blackjack for the first time or even if you are an intermediate player, I would not recommend this as the book to read. You should read Frank Scoblete's BEST BLACKJACK which teaches a much simpler and easier to learn card counting system. Also, Scoblete's book is a lot more fun. But Thorp is the genius who invented card counting and his book is a must as background.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Everyone who ever THINKS about playing blackjack to win should read this book. Thorp is the one who started it all - the Einstein of gambling theory. Anyone who doubts this should read any of his other books or articles, or simply count the number of references to Thorp in Epstein's Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic.
The clarity, depth, and scope of this work surpasses any other on the subject - and it started a revolution! The theory, complete with computer printouts from 1961(!), and the methodology are there, yet this is no dry textbook. Thorp includes fascinating historical and motivational material, as well as a spellbinding account of his first successful tests in Las Vegas.
How anyone could aspire to become a winner at blackjack and not read this book is a mystery to me! And some of the reviewers are simply mistaken. Thorp's systems ARE still relevant, and they absolutely still work. Naturally, they have been improved upon over the course of 34 years, and aspiring card counters will have more than one text, one would HOPE. But Thorp is still:
Relevant, Mesmerising, Indispensable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Kelson on December 11, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I would guess that I (along with a friend) were one of the first ones to use Thorpe's card-counting system in Nevada. We bought his first book as soon as it arrived hot of the press in our local book store and were barely old enough to get in a casino at the time. After we bought the book we spent a couple of months practicing and then headed for Nevada and we probably played regularly after that for a couple of years. Then over the years, through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I would play now and then when my wife and I would go there on vacation.

Because there are easier systems and more efficient systems available now days, Thorpe's book is mostly only useful as historical background and theory, etc. HOWEVER,the following chapter is probably worth its weight in gold for some potential gamblers:

10. How to Spot Cheating

Over the years, from the time I started in the early 60s through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I found the ability to spot cheating was the most important skill of all. In fact, shortly after first arriving in Las Vegas in the early 60s, I was able to spot a second from 20 or 30 feet away. Then, in later years, just out of curiosity, I created a small chart and card counting system based on a formula I found in Thorpe's "Mathematics of Gambling" that would calculate the probabilities of clumping with multiple decks. Then on one vacation trip, while the wife was playing the slots, I would watch and count and then go to an inconspicuous location and record the results for various tables and casinos. The results were very interesting.

Card counting systems are highly effective, in theory, at winning a lot of money at Blackjack. Note, however, that I said "in theory".
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