Until the publication of Blackjack Attack, Don Schlesinger was probably the most influential and respected Blackjack authority who had never written a book. Blackjack Attack - 2nd Edition is primarilyNick Christenson is widely regarded as one of the best gambling book reviewers publishing today. He is a contributor for Poker Player magazine, and has published in Full-Tilt and Gambling Times. He is also the editor of the very funny 'Casino Death Watch,' which chronicles the comings and goings of casinos in Las Vegas. He is an avid poker and blackjack player. Nick's website is www.jetcafe.org/~npc/ a collection of Schlesinger's articles that have been published in Arnold Snyder's Blackjack Forum since 1984. Many of them have been expanded and updated here.
This is by no means the first book an aspiring card counter should read. It provides no basic introduction to the game and describes no card counting system. It doesn't explain the rules, the jargon, or any other basic aspect of Blackjack. The reader is expected to have read, practiced, and understood at least one card counting system and to have tried it out in live play. If this isn't the case, the reader is not ready to understand this book, although the recommendations at the end will steer one in the right direction.
Instead, this book is aimed at the already practicing card counter who wants to take their game to the next level. In this light, the lack of repetitive and familiar background material is a blessing. With the first article, Blackjack Attack launches into new territory that is not covered in nearly this depth, if at all, in any other work. When these essays first appeared in print, they almost universally became instant classics, changing for the better the way players thought about the game. They are all, at worst, well worth reading, at best, they will fundamentally improve how one thinks about Blackjack.
Some of the essays include, "Back-counting the Shoe Game", the first of Schelsinger's essays to appear in Blackjack Forum, which describes what's going through his mind as he table hops through the Atlantic City casinos. We also get "Attacking the Shoe", where Schlesinger explains the rationale behind his now famous "Illustrious 18" decision indices. Additionally, the often misunderstood "Floating Advantage" is explained here with extreme clarity. These are all important topics, and they were described in print by Schlesinger first.
The only fair criticism that I can come up with is that those who already have all of Schlesinger's Blackjack Forum articles have the majority of information contained in this book. Even so, those that are serious enough to have already obtained these articles will get their money's worth from the expanded essays, new data, and convenience of having all this wonderful information in one place. This is not a book for beginners, but for those who have already learned and practiced a card counting system, this book is invaluable.
Schlesinger is well known as a person who has been willing to go out of his way to help eager students learn more about the game he understands so well. This book is a masterful teaching effort for those who are willing to put in the effort to understand what he has to say. While the information here is hardly light reading, his writing is clear, his mathematics are sound, and his insights are eminently worth while. Schlesinger cements his reputation as a master teacher of the game in Blackjack Attack.
Editor's note: Since this review was published, Schlesinger has released the 3rd edtion of his book which includes more than 100 new pages of material.
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