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Professional Blackjack Paperback – March, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
Playing conditions have deteriorated nationwide since this book was first published (and since its update) as the casinos have engaged in an "arms race" with counters, and so the outlook it presents is (to say the least) highly optimistic. Casinos have wised up about how to catch skilled players, and are much more careful about the options and promotions that they offer. Blackjack is no longer the easy road to riches.
The discussion parts of the book do not sufficiently emphasize the importance of the depth-of-deal (penetration) to the player. This, more than which system or which tables are memorized, is the key to winning.
(1) make the appropriate playing decision (e.g. hit / stand);
(2) bet more when odds favor that you will win;
(3) have a sufficient bankroll available; and
(4) play enough rounds
This book covers all four points.
Making the appropriate decision (playing strategy) can be achieved by learning basic strategy. Playing strategy -- and hence your win rate -- can be improved by memorizing index numbers, but basic strategy is actually sufficient for winning at blackjack. Basic strategy, as well as index strategies for two card counting systems, are presented thoroughly.
Making the appropriate betting decision is necessary for winning at blackjack. In the long term, it is statistically impossible to win at blackjack without varying your bet appropriately. Selecting an appropriate bet is covered thoroughly in this book.
Having a sufficient bankroll is essential. While the minimum bankroll size (say $2500 for playing on the Strip) may be more than you like, the details of calculating the bankroll you need is provided.
Playing enough rounds is essential. The details are provided for you to calculate your expected win rates, and their standard deviations, so you know what to expect. You may need to play more than you want (say 100 - 1000) hours to have a reasonable chance of doubling your bankroll, but again, you can calculate it.
This book does have math. No calculus, but basic statistics. Everything is explained -- and you will want it explained.
The material in the book is not heavily dated (cf _Million Dollar Blackjack_ by Ken Uston). Some readers have expressed concern, but as of the date of this review, it's easy to find games in Las Vegas with odds better than the benchmark rules.Read more ›
There are several counts outlined in the book. Do yourself a favor: learn the simplest count (the Hi-Lo), and learn it well.
A common mistake many beginning players make is to learn the most complicated count available, thinking that this will win them the most money. (In Professional Blackjack, this count is the "Wong Halves.") Don't bother learning this count. Complex counts are worth learning if (1) you are playing single decks almost exclusively where (2) the dealers deal fairly deeply into the deck. While such games existed when Wong originally published this work, they are rare to nonexistent now.
One criticism I have is that Wong gives the act short shrift. In order to gain an edge over the casino, you must learn to count. Wong imparts this message admirably, as far as that goes. But counting is a necessary -- but not sufficient -- condition to take what was until recently the casino's money out the door with all of your body parts intact. To do that, you will have to act like someone who is not counting. Developing an act is extremely important (and is another reason to choose a simple count. You shouldn't look like you are counting while you are counting; hence, choose a count that will allow your brain to do more than one thing at a time.)
I attempt to wrap up each blackjack book I review on two levels:
(1) The *current* practical value of the specific information provided in the book (e.g., basic strategy, counts, betting strategy, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you play blackjack you have to read this book. It's well written and easy to understand.Published 12 months ago by Kindle Customer
This is a good book. It's definitely not for a beginner, and, if you chose to be a professional Blackjack player, this would be your bible. Read morePublished 15 months ago by A pseudo-wise old man
Professional Blackjack by Stanford Wong is one of the best blackjack books ever written with a great explanation and charts for both the most widely used counting system in the... Read morePublished 21 months ago by CharlieBOOKFAN
If you want to learn how the MIT students took Vegas for millions, then this is your book. It explains the math and theory behind what they did which is both interesting and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by The Schulz Fam