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Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One – Edward O. Thorp

13th April 2023
beat the dealer book cover


Beat the Dealer is about the game of blackjack. This book was recommended in Richer, Wiser, Happier. The is my second book from its recommended book list. I would like to see what be can learned from this book to apply in the stock market.


Edward O. Thorp is an American mathematics professor, author, hedge fund manager, and blackjack player.


Beat the Dealer has an introduction, 11 chapters, an addendum and an appendix.

The chapters are:

1. The Rules of Blackjack

2. The Basic Strategy

3. Winning Strategy

4. My Ideas Are Tested in Nevada

5. The Simple Point-Count System

6. The Complete Point-Count System

7. Winning Strategy Based on Counting Tens

8. Beating the Casino Countermeasures

9. How to Spot Cheating

10. Can the Cheating be Stopped?

11. Science Versus Chance


In Beat the Dealer, the author has provided several strategies to beat the casinos in the game of blackjack. This game is also known as van-john, pontoon, vingt-et-un, Einund-Zwanzig or Achtzehn-und-Drei and might have slightly different rules depending on the locations.

The author is confident that player can gain a consistent advantage by using strategy presented in the book which is based on mathematical theory of probability. I do not have the chance to try them out yet. Actually, I have not even started practising. The only place in Malaysia that I could try it is in Genting casinos and I do not see myself going to that place anytime soon.

The strategies are summarised in table format and the tables can be read easily once you get the idea behind it. The hard part is memorising it. When we are using card counting system, we want to be discreet. Thus, it is not a good idea to refer to a chart when we are gambling in a casino.

I think the most important thing that I learn is the betting scheme. The author claims that a scheme for betting that gives very good protection against ruin while also providing a large yield is to risk a percentage of your initial capital to your percentage advantage. However, to win, we need to have enough capital. Otherwise, there is no chance of recovery after a brief losing streak.

Regarding its application in the stock market, I believe it has to do with how much to bet in different situation. In this book, the author provides a betting guide for blackjack. However, it would not be so clear cut in the stock markets.

One-sentence summary for Beat the Dealer: Bet big when the situation is favourable, bet small or walk away when the situation is unfavourable.



3 out of 3 stars

Interested in Beat the Dealer?

You may get the book through the links below*.

Get the print book from Kinokuniya Malaysia here

Get the ebook from Shopee Malaysia here

*Disclosure: The above links are Involve Asia affiliate links. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through the links.


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