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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.
I am tempted to add a fifth necessary condition for winning at blackjack -- finding a table with sufficient penetration. This means a table where enough of the deck is used that you will see variations the card counter can take care of. A dealer that shuffles after one or two hands, or the increasingly-present continuous shuffling machines, significantly reduces a counter's advantage by reducing the opportunities to count! I agree with other readers that say penetration deserves better coverage in this book.
Good luck! You can win! But first learn basic strategy, calculate your bet sizes, accumulate your bankroll. Then play as many hands as you can.