Issue 51 / February 2016

Featured Books

A Review of Beat The Dealer By Edward Oakley Thorp – The Bible of Blackjack

Beat The Dealer
Beat The Dealer is to Blackjack what the internal combustion engine is to transport! To say that the book totally revolutionized the world of gambling would be an understatement. If you are a remotely serious or even a recreational gambler – you can improve your odds massively by applying the basic strategy illustrated in this book. Before Beat The Dealer, Blackjack was more or less a game of luck. After the book, it became a game of skill. So great was the impact of this book that Casinos had to alter several rules and change policies in order to stay afloat.

About The Author

Edward Thorpe, the author of Beat The Dealer, was the first person on the planet to mathematically prove that the house advantage in blackjack could be beaten through card counting. However, Thorpe was not some gambling addict! His list of accomplishments can run into several pages. He was a Math and Economics professor and a hedge fund manager. He received a PhD in mathematics from the University of California. He had jobs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Mexico State University and the University of California. Quite a CV that! But it’s not over yet – in 1961, Thorpe designed the world’s first wearable computer. He is regarded as the father of wearable computing.

Have the theories in the book actually been tested in the real world?
The world is filled with so called Gurus who know how to talk the talk. However, they fail miserably when it comes to walking the walk. However, Edward Thorpe actually practiced all that he preached. He tested out his strategies in several casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno! It has been confirmed that he won 11,000 dollars in just a single weekend. That amounts to over 80,000 USD in 2016 money! In fact, he became so good at winning that several casinos expelled him multiple times. Still, he continued playing by arranging teams and disguising himself using false beards, hats, glasses and so on.

Is the book relevant today?Beat The Dealer

Even after five decades since it was first published, Beat The Dealer still remains very relevant. It is true that the game of blackjack has changed over the last 50 years. There are now more modern counting systems – but all of them are based on the strategies described in Beat The Dealer. It does not matter if you were miserable at math in school. You do not have to have an IQ in excess of 170 to apply the techniques mentioned in the book. If you can count money while buying stuff at the supermarket, you can count cards. It takes some practice, but you will get there. Thorpe explains everything in an easy to understand manner. He actually teaches you about spot cheating and other intricate techniques – how cool is that?

Is it easy to understand? Beat The Dealer is not just some manual that is overflowing with tables and other technical stuff – it is filled with interesting anecdotes, escapades, life experiences and funny stories. Thorpe has an uncanny story telling ability as manages to enthrall as well as educate.

Is it worth your while and money?

Of course! Do NOT even think about playing blackjack until you have read Beat The Dealer.

If you’re interested in trying out some of these strategies for free with real money we recommend you visit: or

Lawrence Norfolk

Lawrence Norfolk's John Saturnall's Feast is a passionate story of life, love and war set in the vast subterranean kitchens of a great house, in which a seventeenth-century orphan works his way up from the scullery to become the greatest cook of his age. Like much of Norfolk's other work, it's autobiographical, he tells Alex Peake-Tomkinson.

Sunday, 23 December, 2012

A.M. Homes Sunday, 25 November, 2012

Eduardo Halfon Friday, 23 November, 2012

Back and Beyond by Lucy Scholes

As 2012 comes to a close, Lucy Scholes anticipates the wealth of fantastic new fiction due to be published next year, and looks back over the past twelve months.

Monday, 24 December, 2012

Five Astonishing Books by Jo-Ann Mapson Friday, 23 November, 2012

Of river workers, streetwalkers and private theatricals by Judith Flanders Saturday, 20 October, 2012

Lonely hearts

M, 35, seeks M, 30+

M, 35, seeks M, 30+. Me: left on the shelf for too long, one less than careful former owner, now desperately in need some close attention between the covers. You: an open book.

M n/s 25 WLTM F 30

M n/s 25 WLTM F 30 4 LOFAPS and acronym solving.

Dull old sod

Dull old sod seeks excitable and informed female companion to improve his social credentials. A talent for small talk and false enthusiasm are welcomed but not essential.

F, almost middle-aged

F, almost middle-aged, melancholy, easily bored, always angst-ridden travel writer requires distraction from this damn tedium with a succession of brilliantly written musings by a youthful M.

Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is a multiple award-winning novelist, short-story writer, playwright, poet, and a regular contributor to the Dublin Review, the New York Review of Books and the LRB. His recent novella The Testament of Mary is a profound study of religious belief and human loss. In early December 2012 he was the final writer-in-residence at the Southbank's eye-catching A Room for London overlooking the Thames, where we caught up with him.

Sunday, 23 December, 2012

Emma Donoghue Saturday, 20 October, 2012

Jane Rusbridge Tuesday, 11 September, 2012

The troublesome Mrs Bundy by Ronald Frame

Ronald Frame's Havisham, an affectionate prelude to Great Expectations, speculates on the early life of Dickens' celebrated heartbroken spinster. In this early scene, Miss Catherine has misgivings about the forwardness of her father's cook.

Sunday, 25 November, 2012

Vacation by Salley Vickers Tuesday, 23 October, 2012

Watching Lila by Elena Ferrante Monday, 22 October, 2012

My Week by Salley Vickers

The author of The Cleaner of Chartres spends half-term week chasing fairies, flitting between talks and events, and learning to love an incestuous yet health-and-safety Wagner.

Sunday, 25 November, 2012

Dana Bate Saturday, 20 October, 2012

Simon Rich Monday, 10 September, 2012

Carol Anshaw

Carol Anshaw is the author of Aquamarine, Seven Moves, and Lucky in the Corner. Her acclaimed short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories. Her latest novel Carry the One is a sharp and arresting work about the intersecting lives of three siblings. She lives in Chicago.

Sunday, 25 November, 2012

Adrian Fort Saturday, 20 October, 2012

Joseph Connolly Saturday, 8 September, 2012


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Books of the month

The Prince Of Tides

In the Lake of the Woods

Books are purchased through Amazon UK. Link opens in a new window.

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