The Best Blackjack Movies & Books

Blackjack is one of the few games in which strategic thinking, attention, and discipline count for more than good luck. However, the most successful blackjack strategy is by far card counting, which still captures the interest of many players and mathematicians around the world, even Stephen Hawking is supposedly a huge fan. So it’s hardly surprising that so many great books and movies are devoted to this classic casino game. Here’s our rundown of the best blackjack movies and books. We hope you have as much fun checking them out as we did researching them!

Twenty-One on the Silver Screen: The Best Blackjack Movies

Without a doubt, “Rain Man” is the most successful Hollywood film featuring blackjack. Rain Man stars Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbit and Dustin Hoffman as Charlie’s estranged autistic brother Raymond. On a road trip across America, the brothers team up to win big money by playing the system and beating the house. Directed by Barry Levinson, the film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and was the highest grossing film of 1988. Hoffman won his second “Best Actor” Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond.

‘Rain Man’ Casino Scene

In a totally different register, “The Hangover” (2009) also ranks in the list of great films that feature blackjack. If you haven’t seen it already – and you should, “Hangover” tells the story of four men who go on an epic bachelor party bender in Las Vegas. After waking up the next day with no memory of the night before, the very hungover men try desperately to reconstruct the night and find the missing groom. Todd Philips’ hilarious comedy affectionately riffs off “Rain Man”, using the card counting gambit to get the main characters out of trouble.

Based on Ben Mezrich’s best-selling account of the MIT Blackjack Team, “21” follows a tightknit team of math whizz-kids who use their skills with figures to beat the house in Las Vegas casinos. Predictably, the team’s big wins grab the attention of the casino owners and things go downhill fast. Starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Jim Sturgess, “21” is a thrilling blackjack movie that will entertain all players and features a few lesser known blackjack variations.

Beat The Dealer With The Best Blackjack Books

Books about blackjack aren’t hard to find, but sorting the good from the bad is hard enough. Even to this day, the most widely read book about this card game is “The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book”. Written more than 30 years ago, this 432-page book is still required reading for every player in search of an extra against the dealer. For instance, according to the authors Carl Cooper and Lance Humble, Hi-Opt 1 is the most successful card counting system for this game.

Another great book is “Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook”. Published for the first time in 1977, Jerry L. Patterson’s book is well worth a read. Patterson’s popular tome has been republished three times since its original publication. The most recent edition from 2001 includes Patterson’s take on online casinos, which now offer at least twice as many opportunities to play this game compared to the amount of actual casinos in America alone.

Our Picks of the Best Blackjack Books:
Title: Author: Publisher: Year:
Blackjack Attack: Playing The Pros’ Way Don Schlesinger Rge Publications 2005 Blackjack Attack: Playing The Pros’ WayISBN 10:910575207ISBN-13:978-0910575201
Blackjack Bluebook Fred Renzey Blackjack Mentor 1996 Blackjack BluebookISBN 10:1886094691ISBN-13:978-1886094697
Blackjack: A Winner’s Handbook Jerry L. Patterson Perigee Trade 1990 Blackjack: A Winner’s HandbookISBN 10:399515984ISBN-13:978-0399515989
The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book Lance Humble, Carl Cooper Three Rivers Press 1987 The World’s Greatest Blackjack BookISBN 10:385153821ISBN-13:978-0385153829
Beat the Dealer Edward O. Thorp Vintage 1966 Beat the DealerISBN 10:394703103ISBN-13:978-0394703107

As referenced earlier in relation to “21”, Ben Mezrich’s “Bringing Down the House” has to be included in any list of great books about this card game. An embellished account of the MIT card counting teams, Mezrich’s book is a gripping read and delves deep into the world of professional blackjack card counting. Mezrich would later go on to write the definitive history of Facebook’s acrimonious and lawsuit-loaded launch called “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal”.

For experienced players in search of a great blackjack strategy book, Donald “Don” Schlesinger’s “BlackJack Attack: Playing The Pros’ Way” has a lot to offer. More of a how-to-beat-the-dealer guide than Mezrich’s entertaining history, Schlesinger’s book dives straight into the mechanics of blackjack, so amateurs or casual players might prefer to read something a little less heavy going. Schlesinger studied Mathematics at City College in New York and then spent roughly three decades studying the complex numbers game behind blackjack. Schlesinger’s thirty years of expertise make for an impressively comprehensive account of the best ways to win; his main focuses are “Back-counting the Shoe Game”, “Attacking the Shoe” and “Floating Advantage”. If those tactics sound new to you, then this might be the ideal blackjack book for you.

Any list of great blackjack books has also got to include Edward O. Thorp’s classic “Beat the Dealer”. A classic of its kind and a New York Times Bestseller to boot, this book tackles a range of strategies for beating the dealer that almost any one can try. Published in 1966, Thorp’s book remains phenomenally popular with players for good reason; every strategy under the sun is covered in it. Thorp’s particular focus is on the so-called Hi-Low System, or Plus/Minus System, a tried and tested method of beating the dealer which you can learn more about here. Anyone looking to learn about blackjack strategies would be hard pressed to find a better book than Thorp’s classic.

Conclusion: Blackjack Films & Books Players Will Love

We hope you’ve found a blackjack movie to keep you entertained or a strategy based book with which to sharpen your dealer-beating skills. These books and films are bound to please almost any committed fan of this game and represent a great opportunity for amateurs and beginners to immerse themselves in the world of 21. If you’re looking to try out what you’ve learnt straightaway, why not play a few hands with one of best casino operators.