Playing Blackjack as a Business

Touted as the "world's bestselling blackjack book", Playing Blackjack as a Business was written in 1969 by Lawrence Revere. According to most of the accounts we've read, Revere was quite a character, and that's reflected in this book. While blackjack conditions have changed since 1969, much of this book is still useful.

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Review and Summary of Playing Blackjack as a Business

Lawrence Revere had an extensive background in both blackjack and casinos, on both sides of the tables. He'd been a blackjack player, card counter, pit boss, and dealer at various stages of his 28 year career in the gambling industry. Lance Humble mentions Lawrence Revere in his book The World's Greatest Blackjack Book, and Revere still has a website online, even though he died of cancer in 1977. (We think Revere's family owns the site, but we're not sure about this.)

Playing Blackjack as a Business consists of 70 charts, 36 of which are in color, and 11 chapters. The book begins by reviewing the rules of blackjack, then covers basic strategy and how to actually play at a table. Then the multiple charts are presented, following by additional chapters which expand on the concepts presented in these charts. If learning from charts is easy for you, then this book might be an excellent tool for your learning.

One aspect of Playing Blackjack as a Business that we enjoyed was the time estimates given for how long you could expect to take in order to learn the various aspects of being a card counter:

  • Learning basic strategy will take the average person 4 hours.
  • Learning the most basic counting system in the book, the "Revere Fives Strategy", will take another 4 hours.
  • The "Revere Plus Minus Strategy" will take an additional 8 hours to learn.
  • You should play with these strategies for at least 2 weeks before tackling the more advanced strategies.

Revere suggests that the way to get the most from the book is to read the book in its entirety first, ignoring the charts. Then learn and practice basic strategy. After that, he suggests re-reading the book again, then learning the "Plus Minus Strategy". We're not sure why the "Revere Fives Strategy" was left out of the "How to Get the Most Out of this Book" section, but we assume it was just an oversight.

Chapter 1 - The Game of Blackjack

The chapter immediately shows its age because the 1st sentence states that Nevada is the only state which offers legal blackjack games. While that was true at the time, blackjack is now available in multiple states throughout the USA. And of course, the book was written before online gambling, so no aspects of playing online are addressed at all. (Although counting cards online is a strategy that's almost impossible to implement at most Internet casinos.)

Revere goes on to review in brief some of the other blackjack books that were available at the time. He likes Beat the Dealer, The Casino Gamblers Guide, and The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic. He was particularly scornful of John Scarne's book, Scarne's Complete Guide to Casino Gambling. The chapter is also liberally seasoned with gambling stories from Revere's own experience. The thesis of the chapter is that blackjack is a mathematical game and that opinion doesn't determine the best strategy, math does.

Chapter 2 - The Rules of the Game

The chapter explaining the rules of the game is clearly written, although the language used is like the language in the rest of the book: quaint. The writing style reminds us of books written by Dale Carnegie, which were written several years earlier.

Playing Blackjack as a Business

 

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