Blackjack Movies and Books

An overview of some popular movies and books related to blackjack. The main focus of these movies tend to revolved around the topic of card counting and is something that's also often mentioned in blackjack strategy books.

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Popular Blackjack Movies and Books

Blackjack has had a lot of coverage in other media outside of casinos and it’s easy to see why. Blackjack is an easy game that anyone can play. It generates a lot of excitement and the blackjack tables in a casino are always crowded. Because of this, Hollywood movies have always had a fascination with blackjack and gambling in particular. The theme of gambling and risking it all looks good on film. The subject of blackjack has also been covered quite a bit in print. There are so many so-called professionals who have written books offering tips and strategies on how to beat the house. Whether you are a player interested in coverage of blackjack for entertainment purposes or for reference, there is a lot of material available.
Let’s take a look at the blackjack movies first.

Blackjack Movies

For decades Hollywood has had an attraction to movies that feature the theme of gambling. Some of the best movies ever made have centered on flashy casinos, the thrill of the game, and well-dressed players. When it comes to classic movies dealing with gambling in general, at the top of the list are such classics as Casino, Casablanca, The Cooler, Oceans 11 (the original and the remake), Rounders, and almost every James Bond movie ever made.

When it comes to Hollywood movies that deal specifically with blackjack or have the game of blackjack s the movie’s background, at the top of that list is the fairly recent movie 21. The movie is based on the true story of  the MIT  blackjack team that counted cards in casinos all over the world. The movie chronicles the events that made the team famous. The plot revolves around Professor Rosa who, because he can no longer enter casinos, recruits 5 brilliant mathematics students at MIT and teaches them how to count cards. During weekends, the MIT team travels to Las Vegas where they use fake id’s to get into the casinos. Once in, the team uses their card counting skills to take the casinos for millions. Eventually, fueled by greed, the team begins to fall apart and is eventually caught by casino security. Some parts of the film are fictionalized for the sake of a better movie, it is still a great piece.

Another good blackjack movie is Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. Hoffman plays Raymond an autistic savant and older brother to Tom Cruise’s character. Due to Raymond’s autism, he has a rare talent of being able to count almost anything to a staggering degree. At one point in the movie a box of toothpicks spills on the floor and Raymond glances at the messy pile and accurately counts the exact number of toothpicks. Tom Cruise’s character, in debt, gets the idea to take Raymond to Las Vegas where he uses his talent to count cards at blackjack. Although the game only appears during the last third of the movie, it is still a great representation of the game.

Not all blackjack movies are for entertainment. There are some good instructional dvd’s available on the market. Beating Blackjack with Andy Bloch is one of those. Released in 2007, the instructional dvd features professional Andy Bloch, the one-time manager of the infamous MIT team. In the dvd, Bloch gives tips and techniques for winning at blackjack. The instructions are simple and clear and gives great advice on how to count cards.

Blackjack Books

Over the years, there has been a plethora of books written involving blackjack. Online gambling sites and bookstores are full of them and sometimes, it is hard to determine which blackjack books are helpful and which are not. It seems that anyone who has ever won a hand of blackjack has written a book. But don’t despair. If you are a new player trying to learn the ropes or an aspiring pro looking for additional tips, below is a list of blackjack books that you may find useful.

Theory of Blackjack, by Peter Griffin, is currently in it’s 6th edition and is a must read for anyone who considers themselves a card counter. The book is essential in understanding the underlying mathematics behind blackjack but it does it in a way that is easy to understand.  It’s really more for the advanced blackjack players than beginners. If you are just starting out playing blackjack, you should check out the book below.

Basic Blackjack by Stanford Wong is a good book for beginners. Not only does it cover all the rules for basic blackjack but also covers almost every rule variation of the game. There are strategy charts dealing with all the different blackjack games. It’s not much help for card counting or the advanced player but beginners will find it extremely helpful.

Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp is the book credited with starting the system of card counting and thus increasing the popularity of blackjack. Before this book, all other blackjack systems were too basic to be very effective. Although much in the book is now outdated to be completely successful in today’s blackjack games, it is still interesting to see how card counting started out.

Not all good blackjack books deal with tips and strategies. Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich is the book about Kevin Lewis and the infamous MIT blackjack team that took casinos for millions by counting cards. This is the blackjack book that inspired the movie 21. Bringing Down the House is not a book about systems but instead is a biographical document that chronicles the events of the MIT team. It’s a pretty good read, fast-paced, and full of drama as you find out about how the team used fake id’s, pretended not to know one another in the casinos, and used code words when counting cards at the table. It’s amazing what the team accomplished before it all fell apart.

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