on October 24, 2003
Although I've been playing "advantage" blackjack for many years, I still found this book to be helpful and educational. It was a reading delight with a comprehensive sequential arrangement, smoothly moving from basic strategy - to basic refinement techniques - to amateur card counting - to advanced card counts.
Its chapter on the "art" of skillful play offered some advanced, yet easy tactics regarding camouflage, truing up an unbalanced count, etc. Even the pure recreationalists will find practical ways to improve their game beyond correct basic strategy by using information from the cards showing on board. There is also quite an interesting analytical perspective on betting progressions.
One thing I liked in particular was that nearly every strategy or technique presented was given a percentage value, backed by millions of computer generated hands. That gives us all a better feel for what our various efforts are worth; something I haven't always had.
Another big plus was all the card hand graphics that were used throughout to illustrate its strategic points. For hard to grasp concepts, the pictures were a big help.
After reading 20 blackjack books, if I can get just one or two new helpful things from the next one I consider it time well spent. This one provided lots of them.
on July 16, 2004
This is definitely one of the best blackjack books I have read. Before covering basic strategy the author dismisses some common blackjack myths and gets the newbie in the correct frame of mind to play winning blackjack. The coverage of basic strategy is as good as you'll find anywhere, with explanations of why certain plays are correct. There is some nice coverage of non-count based advantage strategies such as hand interaction, which I have never seen in any other book. The book really shines I think in the the final chapters, as the author does a very complete job off covering various card counting systems, starting from the recreational ACE/10 count upto the highly advanced (level 2) mentor count. I use the author's KISS III count in 6-8 deck games, and I am learning the mentor count for single/two deck play when I visit las vegas. KISS III is upto par with Hi-Lo and KO systems, and I find the unbalanced count is much easier for betting purposes in multi-deck games. The only negative point about the book I found was the lack of coverage on bankroll requirements, and concepts such as risk of ruin. But otherwise, I highly recommend this book for the beginner/intermediate blackjack player.
on August 11, 2004
I recently purchased Stanford Wongs professional blackjack after reading this book. It didnt even come close to comparing. Blackjack Blue Book II is the easiest to read blackjack book I hjave found with a tonne of critical information. For the beginner or the person who is looking to get more serious, this book is a must buy. In my opinion, this is the blackjack bible and every player needs to own a copy.
on June 29, 2003
Gem says it all!
It took 30 years, but somebody has finally taken all the hi-tech blackjack strategy that you need to actually beat the game and reduced it into clear layman's terms. This book turns basic strategy into an artform with 7 hands that should be played "against the book" if the right cards are on the board. It also touches on a provocative angle that I've never seen dealt with before, "Hand Interaction" (completing other players' doubles for less, taking part of their advantageous splits, pawning off one of your own disadvantaged split cards, etc.)
The author, an obviously accomplished card counter presents some laughingly simple ways for a basic strategy player to identify a shoe that has become heavy in Tens and Aces, then shows exactly how to bet and play that shoe through to the end.
The book is littered throughout with graphic card hand illustrations which really drive home its salient points. It also contains the new unbalanced KISS Count which makes basic card counting about as easy as it can get. Later in the book, the reader is shown how to refine the basic Kiss Count into a full scale performer.
The chapter on advanced skills and techniques contains useful gems, particularly a list of 15 "camouflage" plays that a journeyman counter can use to hide his proficiency. I wish this book was around 15 years ago when I was struggling with all the more tedious handbooks on advantage play. This one's a real smooth read, and provides some new insights besides.
on June 19, 2003
For anyone new to blackjack or thinking about taking the next step up to card counting, I don't think you can do better than Fred Renzey's book. For the newcomer, his chapter on basic strategy is the best I've ever seen. For someone that wants some added skill plays without counting cards, his info on deviating from basic strategy based on which cards are face up on the board at the moment is something I haven't seen elsewhere. And, he offers something a lot of authors don't in regards to card counting....making it as easy or as complex as you want. You could probably learn the Ace/10 count on the plane as your flying to Vegas. The unbalanced KISS counts (I,II, or II) progress in complexity...and in your expected return. (For the more savy out there, the Stage III Kiss is
similar to the KO system, but is perhaps a shade easier to use and has a net edge of .70% over the house vs KO's .68%.) And then if you're hard core, the Mentor Count is as good of a Level II system you'll find. This book will take you from an introduction to the game to advanced counting as you pick your own level of comfort, so to speak. And anyone considering Knockout Blackjack should start here.
on September 4, 2003
We had planned to go to Pensacola Beach and pass by the casino in Biloxi, MS this Labor Day weekend (9/1/03). I didn't know the game much so I decided to buy it on Amazon after reading the 3 earlier reviewers. We did pass by the casino as planned but our original plan didn't work out right; so we arrived very late. I played the game and I won $162 (after $8 tips) after 50 minutes on a $10 bet. It was about 2 am and my whole family was waiting for me so I have to leave. But I'm planning to go to Las Vegas this December. Of course, not just gamble but to also have fun since I have never been there before.
With the knowledge from the book, I felt very confident while playing the game. The book is easy to understand and very well written. Plus I was very good in math in high school and in college, so I understood the probability concept easily. It's a must have if you are going to play blackjack at the casino.
on February 14, 2004
I liked the opening blackjack IQ test which grades your current level of knowledge. The book has a very complete basic strategy section including a multi-color hand playing chart, plus many typical problem hand explanations. It also has a unique chapter on fine points of the game that go beyond basic strategy without counting cards.
The card counting section begins with some downright casual methods, then progresses to mainstream and advanced type systems. The upgradable KISS Count looks similar to the KO count and is very clearly laid out, along with supporting performance data. In fact the whole book is presented in an easy to follow and thorough writing style.
In my humble opinion, it is an excellent modern textbook and reference guide for serious players.
on October 17, 2011
I am a relatively conservative investor, it is my elder son who makes ocasional forays into the Vegas casinos to challenge the House! Hence this book was a birthday gift.
He reports that his last trip was successful, and lessons gained from the pages of this tome gave him additional insight. Was it the book or was it that he was guided from a higher perspective.
In this life, we get in relation to what we give, and giving time to study the percentages will invariably tilt the game ever so slightly toward the those who challenge the House.
Read the book, practice with another until you know the strategies just as well as you know how to ride a bicycle, and you too can profit from the "Simplest Winning Strategies"!
on August 26, 2009
I don't really have anything to compare this book to since this is the first Blackjack book that I've read, but I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed. The layout was well organized and the explanations of concepts were easy to understand due to the accompanied examples. I particularly liked the chapters that seemed to bridge the territory between straight basic play and full out card counting. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about Blackjack.
on June 17, 2010
I wanted to see if I could try to be a winner at Blackjack. I felt this book was well written. It had lots of information that I will try the next time I'm sitting down at a blackjack table.I'm considered not much of a reader, but when I started reading this book, I just couldn't put it down.I recommend this book to anyone that wants to win the next time they sit down at a blackjack table.