The World's Greatest Blackjack Book

The World's Greatest Blackjack Book is a fairly long (432 pages) book about getting an advantage playing blackjack against the casino. The book was written by Lance Humble and Carl Cooper. The World's Greatest Blackjack Book does an excellent job of explaining the rules of blackjack, how to play blackjack, and the principles behind card counting.

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The World's Greatest Blackjack Book

When I first wanted to learn how to count cards, I was given a couple of book recommendations by the lawyer at the company where I worked. He told me to read The World's Greatest Blackjack Book. He also said not to pay much attention to the parts about preventing the casino from cheating you, as the book was written a long time ago, and casinos rarely try to cheat at blackjack anymore. (And really, why would a casino need to cheat? They already have an edge.)

So read The World's Greatest Blackjack Book I did. It's safe to say that I wouldn't understand basic blackjack strategy today if I hadn't read this book. Lance Humble's explanations of how to play blackjack and basic strategy are easily-understood and reasonably short. The only long-windedness in this book is in the tales of his blackjack experiences, which seem to be typical to card counting books of that time. (Playing Blackjack as a Business, by Lawrence Revere, has a similar old-school writing style.)

The Hi Opt System

The World's Greatest Blackjack BookThe card counting system presented in The World's Greatest Blackjack Book is the Hi Opt system. The authors of this book didn't create this card counting system; Charles Einstein did, in 1968. In the Hi Opt I card counting system, 3's through 6's count as +1, while 10's count as -1. You're also required to keep a side count of aces when using the Hi Opt counting method. Most of the deviations from basic strategy that are recommended are based on the side count of the aces.

The Hi Opt card counting system is a balanced card counting system - there are as many +1's in the deck as there are -1's. So if you count through an entire deck, start to finish, you should end up with a running count of 0.

Lawrence Revere

The most entertaining aspect of The World's Greatest Blackjack Book for me were the multiple anecdotes about the author's (Lance Humble) experiences dealing with Lawrence Revere (author of Playing Blackjack as a Business). According to Humble, Revere was quite a shady character. I don't know how accurate Humble's characterizations of Lawrence Revere are, but they made for entertaining reading.


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