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The Theory of Blackjack: The Compleat Card Counter's Guide to the Casino Game of 21 (6th Edition, Indexed) Paperback – March 1, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Griffin taught mathematics and statistics at California State University, Sacramento. A member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame, he has been interviewed frequently on radio, television, and in newspapers regarding probabilistic matters, particularly those associated with casino gambling and the lottery. Griffin served as the election eve statistical consultant for United Press International throughout the ’80s, and is believed to hold the world record for rope jumping by a gambling theorist—more than 400,000 without a miss.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Huntington Press; 6th edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929712137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929712130
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this is a great book you really need to know what it is and what it IS NOT!

It is not an introduction to blackjack. It's assumed you already know how to play the game.

It is not an introduction to card counting. The author assumes you already know a card counting system, or at least have a basic understanding of what one entails.

It is PROBABLY not going to make you a better player. It's not really a "how to" guide for the game as much as it's a guide to show you how to effectively ANALYZE the game.

As the title suggests this book is a fairly comprehensive review of the theory of blackjack. While a traditional counting book will tell you the HOW of card counting, this book will show you WHY it works, how card counting systems are derived, how to compare the power of different card counting systems (the so-called "efficiences") and contrast them to an (linearly) ideal system. You will also learn how to calculate exact probabilities (well, really how to write a program to do this) that could be used to determine the values (in terms of expected return) of different hands or to design a tool that will give you the optimal play in any situation that may arrise in blackjack. This tool isn't to be confused with "basic strategy", which only gives you the optimal play off the top of a freshly shuffled shoe.

This book is ideal for someone who is comfortable with playing blackjack in a casino environment, has a basic understanding of the difficulties faced by card counters, and is comfortable with mathematical formulas and their derivations (although a lot of concepts can be understood without a strong background in math, you'll get a lot more out of the book if you can follow its derivations).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ran across this book many years ago in a used bookstore (mine was the 2nd edition). I must say this book changed my opinion of books about gambling books. Up to that point, all the gambling books I've come across were laughable. But this book was startlingly different. It thoroughly explains the mathematics behind basic strategy and card counting techniques in a way that really made sense.
This may sound too advanced for many folks, but frankly the math is fairly easy to understand (it mostly uses basic statistics that you probably learned and forgot in high school).
If you are serious about card counting, the information in this book will help you evaluate BJ counting systems (or even systems you invent). It will also help you subtly modify your play for changes in rules at different casinos.
Do you need to be a computer programmer to use this book? No, but it wouldn't hurt. Is this book useful for writing BJ simulators? Yes, but it's also great for really understanding what it takes to be a really good card counter.
Personally, this book convinced me that I don't have the patience (or time) to become a good card counter. But at least now I know why.
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Format: Paperback
I'll start off by saying that this book is a tool for those interested in the underlying mathematics of the game of blackjack. For those people who just want the numbers, many blackjack simulators are currently on the market. In fact, most of the simulators would be more accurate than the numbers in these books due to the fact that you can customise then to your exact table conditions and playing strategies.
Even for those who are mathematically inclined, this book is very heavy reading. I've completed university level statistics courses and much of this text is still beyond my grasp. Griffin often does not explain why particular statistical methods are appropriate presumably he assumes familiarity with the underlying mathematics.
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By A Customer on December 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the "textbook" for counters. What I mean is that it reads like an excellent textbook, but is not useful for the beginning blackjack player. If you are that, purchase KO blackjack or Basic Blackjack. Then, when you begin to develop an interest in the theory of BJ (hence the title) this is a must buy.
Why does the other review insist on calling him Miller?
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Format: Paperback
The theories in this book are rock solid, but unless you have a degree in mathematics, it will be a very tough read. There are lots of complex theories and equations that the everyday Joe might have a problem following.

Also, this book mostly covers 1 deck blackjack which is not played in any casino in the world these days. Most casinos use 6-8 decks, but the theoretical aspect of the book holds true regardless on how many decks are used.
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Format: Paperback
if you are a beginner to the field of pro blackjack, don't buy this book. buy "blood blackjack" and learn all you can until you achieve high skills at this game. then, and only then, you can go to this book which is a treasure to expert players - it sharpens your game, gives you mathematical backround to your methods, and can especially give you an edge on the hard-to-win-but-fast-to-play internet blackjack games.
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Format: Paperback
Peter Griffin is the blackjack authors blackjack author, respected and referenced by everyone in the field. This book is extremely heavy-going and mathmatically sophisticated, fully understood by virtually noone. No system is presented as such. This is, as the book title indicates a book about theory rather than the practice of winning blackjack. To give you some indication of the influence of this book it helps to list some of its achievements:- Griffin created virtually every balanced count system, was the first to develop a plausible method of rating such systems, and created "perfect-play" analysis of every possible hand total. In addition, mysteries such as the decade-old "floating advantage" conundrum are solved. Many many insights are contained herein which have not yet been fully exploited. I have never stopped re-reading it.
For anybody who wishes to develop, innovate or understand blackjack systems this is an essential purchase.
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