Don Schlesinger

Don Schlesinger is a blackjack pro whose experience in the field of blackjack spans over three decades. He has been nominated for Blackjack Hall of fame membership multiple times.

Getting to Know the Game

Schlesinger was born in New York City, studied mathematics and holds a B.S. degree from the City College of New York. He also studied French at the City University of New York, and has an M.A. and an M.Phil degree in this field. Schlesinger first played blackjack in Las Vegas in 1975 and quickly became intrigued. By 1976 he had learned how to count cards using Lawrence Revere‘s Playing Blackjack as a Business.

Change of Career

Schlesinger started out teaching mathematics in New York, and later also French, but as he became more hooked on blackjack and increasingly practiced and proficient, he began to direct his passion for research and teaching towards blackjack advantage play. In 1984 he switched careers and began working as a principle executive at a Wall Street investment bank until 1998. After his retirement from the finance industry, Schlesinger had even more time to devote to blackjack.

Blackjack Pro

Subsequently, Schlesinger made great contributions to the world of blackjack advantage play through his research on optimal betting, risk analysis, team play and camouflage. By this time Schlesinger was not only playing and researching, but also writing and publishing articles and teaching on the subject. He has collaborated with an impressive host of other professional players, including Hall of Famers Arnold Snyder, Stanford Wong, Peter Griffin and Ed Thorp.

Blackjack Attack

Much of Schlesinger’s research is collected in his book Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros’ Way. In this book he deals with risk analysis, team play, the Illustrious 18 card counting indices, devises highly accurate basic strategy charts, compares card counting systems, and the most recent issue also includes a complete reworking of Peter Griffin’s research on expected values. Not an easy read, in other words, but a very worthwhile one for players with a passion for the maths behind the game.