- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 22, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143118854
- ISBN-13: 978-0143118855
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Repeat Until Rich: A Professional Card Counter's Chronicle of the Blackjack Wars Paperback – February 22, 2011
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About the Author
Josh Axelrad played blackjack professionally for five years and poker unprofessionally for one. A graduate of Columbia College, he languished briefly in investment banking before he turned to cards. His personal win as a card counter, at $700,000, has left him eighty-sixed from the finest casinos in Vegas and around the United States. His subsequent losses at poker (exceeding $50,000) have cost him credit privileges at the Internet’s most reputable poker rooms. A commentator on the casino industry for National Public Radio’s Marketplace program, Axelrad also performs at Stories at the Moth in New York and has been featured on the award-winning Moth Podcast.
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This author was a member of a successful blackjack card counting team for five years. He made enough money to accumulate a bankroll of $200,000. Then, for various reasons, the team broke up. After that, the author turned to online poker. Unfortunately, with this endeavor, he became compulsive and, over two years, lost all his money.
Poker has been a serious hobby of mine for 25 years. Based on my knowledge of the game, I could see that the authors’ knowledge and understanding of poker was, at best, superficial. Poker strategy is not purely mechanical as it is with counting cards when playing blackjack. Poker strategy is constantly evolving as opponents, over time, adjust to your tactics. Plus, successful poker strategy is as much an art as a science. The authors’ failure to understand this is what led to his downfall. His success at blackjack caused him to believe that a mechanical approach would work for poker.
This book does not offer any great insights into either blackjack or poker. However, it does offer a very good study of the emotions people feel when experiencing both success and failure. More importantly, it shows how a person becomes tortured when he or she is continually frustrated by failure. From this perspective, I think that this authors’ experiences would make a good movie.
Every time I hop on RT (my BMW R1200 RT 110 hp sport-touring bike) I think of what it might be like to not return home, to keep following the road wherever it may lead. I am sure most of us hold similar thoughts at some point in our lives...maybe every day. But of course we do not follow through. We cannot bring ourselves to it, so we lead the life of adventure and recklessness vicariously. We just don't have the guts to do it.
Here is a successful Wall Street investment banker who chucks it all to become a professional gambler, not a solo guy, but part of an organized business that includes counters, big players, and other characters. Along the way is the Las Vegas glamour and failure that you might expect from such a life.
But it is also a story of addiction and how that addiction is overcome...at least for now. Yes, the author is still around and has a website so you can keep up with his continuing story.
You can learn how to count cards and the other tricks of professional gamblers, but it is the allure of what we might think of as breaking the chains of traditional success and following a different drum that makes the book enticing. That, and the author's victory over his addiction, gives his reader much to think, or rather dream about.
If card counting is an interest of yours, get this book. The author does explain how to do it. And if you like the novel, Bringing Down the House, you should like this one too.
I think a lot of people will read this because they want to know more about card-counting. I enjoyed it just for the story, which divides fairly naturally into three phases. The last chapter (well, second to last, before the blackjack nitty-gritty) was succinct and beautiful--at once related to all that had come before and distinct and fresh.