Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One is the blackjack book that started it all. When most people think about the casino game of blackjack, the first word that pops into their minds is card counting. Beat the Dealer was the first book of its kind that explains card counting and was a revolutionary book in the 1960’s. It is still relevant today and is a must read for any player of the casino game blackjack. This book is valuable as a source to learn more about the history of blackjack than the specific strategies contained therein.
The first few chapters of the book offer a great introduction to how the game of blackjack is played in a casino. Chapter 3 is a great introduction to basic strategy and how basic strategy was created in the 1960’s. It is amazing to think that even though technology has improved significantly since the 1960’s, the basic strategy provided in this book is almost 100% complete by today’s standards. Realistically a player could play by the basic strategy contained in this book and be playing almost 100% accurate basic strategy based on the recent statistical analysis of the game of blackjack today using high-speed computers.
The next few chapters of the book provide information on the mysterious thing known as card counting. Thorp explains his methods and provides information on what actually happened when he employed his methods in Las Vegas casinos. The strategies contained in this book are good and where revolutionary at the time. Much better card counting strategies are available in more recent books. That being said, this is still a great introduction to card counting and should be read.
Casino Reaction and Cheating
The last few chapters discuss casino countermeasures and cheating. Thorp explains how the casinos reacted to his methods and how they changed the game of blackjack overnight thinking that everyone would now follow his methods and beat the dealers. When the casinos found that by changing the rules of blackjack they started to make less money, they slowly reverted back to the old rules and profits increased. The casinos should be thankful to Thorp for the free marketing he gave to casinos about the game of blackjack. This book helped to make blackjack the popular casino game it is today. Once again this is very valuable information and even though more recent books have been devoted specifically to casino countermeasures and casino cheating, this is still a classic.
Buy Yourself a Copy
If you can’t already tell, I would highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of Beat the Dealer by Edward Thorp. No blackjack library would be complete without this book. All blackjack players can learn something from this book. Thorp’s book is a true classic in every sense of the word.