The Big Book of Blackjack

This book really lives up to its title. It’s large, heavy, and contains about 360 pages of in-depth material. Although the most extensive section in this book deals with rules, strategies, and card counting, the best part of this book is without a doubt the 80 pages of blackjack history presented in the first section. Snyder not only details the events from the moment Edward Thorpe hits the scene. He has done extensive research tracking the history of blackjack from Napoleonic France through the American Wild West to where the game is today. This section has a lot of information on offer that you won’t easily find anywhere else.

The strategy section also has some valuable chapters on how to deal strategically with some of the most popular blackjack variations you might come across. The count Snyder focuses on in his chapter on card counting is the Red Sevens Count. Well over 25 years of blackjack experience have been condensed into this book, and that really shows in the third section on the book, which is on how the game is played in casinos. This section includes material on team play, surveillance, cheating, and the dangers of winning, along with some blackjack court cases where Snyder’s experience as an advantage player’s rights advocate sheds more light on the legal aspects surrounding advantage play. Section four includes information on the Blackjack Hall of Fame and its inductees, as well as other interesting and unexpected odds and ends such as blackjack poetry.

All in all, this is an excellent book. In terms of learning to count cards it is maybe not the most versatile book available, but in terms of expertise in the history of blackjack Snyder is second to none. The section on strategies for different blackjack variations is also very useful, and Snyder’s own lifetime of experience as a blackjack pro makes the third section a fascinating read.