Books To Check Out: Blackjack Attack


Part of learning how to be an advantage player is learning from the right sources. From time to time, I make recommendations of sources you should check out, such as websites, classes, and, in this case, books, to help you round out your learning.

Originally released in 1997, Blackjack Attack is now in its third edition. Don Schlesinger, the author, is not a professional blackjack player, but does have some experience playing. I strongly recommend that you buy this book.

The Tome Of All Card-Counting Math

The “Bible” Of Card Counting Statistics

There are lots of books out there teaching the basic of card counting. Blackjack Attack is an advanced treatise to answer statistical questions about blackjack. There are sections on:

-Playing methods, such as back-counting

-Calculating the Win Rate of a game

-Selecting Index Plays

-Risk of Ruin

-A compilation of simulations of commonly-available games

and more. If I were to simplify why this is such a good book: I learned how to count from other books, but Blackjack Attack taught me how to play a strong game. Most new players simply do not know how to select a game, structure a bankroll, or calculate your win rate. This book will show you how.

Where I disagree

My strong recommendation of Blackjack Attack also comes with a stark warning. The information on cover is very different from what you will hear from seasoned professionals. It has misled many people that I have interacted with.

Don emphasizes an approach to cover that focuses primarily on giving up parts of your advantage (the most expensive form of cover) in the hopes of achieving longevity. This includes things like not playing a hand properly, limiting your betting spread, playing short sessions, and even playing after a hot shoe is over. My series on cover plays explains the differences of approach in greater detail.

Our Approach

Our approach, which we teach in our class Getting Away With It, does not begin with a focus on ourselves, and our own game. It begins with a focus on our enemy, how he thinks and acts, and guards himself. Then, we discuss ways to avoid detection by the enemy with as little cost as possible:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” -Sun Tzu, The Art of War


While Don Schlesinger’s advice on cover is incorrect, he is a master of what he knows. He will give you incredible insight into the optimal way to count cards and get the money. I disagree with Don when he drifts from his area of mastery. But I have the utmost respect for his expertise, and his book belongs on your shelf.

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