Gambling NewsCasino GamblingOnline GamblingBlackjackVideo PokerSlotsCrapsPokerRoulette
ReadyBetGo! HomeGambling OnlineCasino GamblingBlackjackCrapsPokerRouletteSlotsVideo PokerOur AuthorsBook ReviewsGambling News
More Book Reviews
Best Selling Poker Books of 2014How did the new books compare to the old classics? Well, we will let the data speak for itself. Take a look at the list of the best selling poker books of 2014.Deal Me In and Eat Professional Poker Players Alive ReviewedThere isn't a clear path by which people become professional poker players. There aren't any good courses at the local vo-tech for a person to study. The road to becoming a poker pro is inevitably difficult, circuitous, and filled with setbacks. Deal Me In is a book describing the course by which twenty top poker players became professionals. Poker Winners Are DifferentThere is a big difference between what's typical human behavior and what is called for to play poker at a high level. There aren't a lot of people for whom maximizing their expectation in poker games comes naturally. Poker Winners Are Different by Alan Schoonmaker examines this conundrum.
Interesting gambling books
21 A Journey: Memoirs Of A Professional Gambler
by Stephen Custer
Book Picture
21 -- A Journey is that rare animal, a relatively new book on the subject of blackjack. It's a story about one man's pursuit of a new career playing the game and the elements in his life that lead him in that direction.
Related Links
Stephen Custer's '21 - a journey'Stephen Custer has a website devoted to his book '21 - a journey' and other blackjack reports including "Hold 'em: Playing Your Starting Hand with Tables Especially Designed for Online Play" and "Nine Steps to Winning Blackjack." You can read a sample chapter of the book, learn more about the reports, or order the book and reports at the site.

New Blackjack Autobiography Tells Interesting Story

There hasn't been much written in the last few years about blackjack. Nonetheless, there are still advantage players out there going toe-to-toe with the casinos counting cards. Stephen Custer hasNick ChristensonNick Christenson is widely regarded as one of the best gambling book reviewers publishing today. He is a contributor for Poker Player magazine, and has published in Full-Tilt and Gambling Times. He is also the editor of the very funny 'Casino Death Watch,' which chronicles the comings and goings of casinos in Las Vegas. He is an avid poker and blackjack player.  Nick's website is  published his own story about his attempt to beat the casinos in 21 -- A Journey.

21 -- A Journey isn't a strategy book. It's Custer's story about his decision to move into the advantage blackjack world and the effect it had on his life. About half of this book is blackjack story, in much the same vein as Stuart Perry's Las Vegas Blackjack Diary or Barry Meadow's Blackjack Autumn. The other half is a personal narrative where the author lays out his attempts to define for himself an appropriate third act for his own life. There's less blackjack here than in Perry's book, but about as much as we get from Meadow.

I didn't really expect Custer to spend so much time speaking so candidly about his personal life. I get the feeling that his goal in writing the book was at least as much personal catharsis as it was to inform and entertain his audience. Under most circumstances I'm not a huge fan of gambling books that could be adapted into Lifetime movies of the week, but 21 -- A Journey was better than most in this regard. Custer gave us a glimpse of a life to which I believe that many advantage gamblers can relate. Moreover, I think he actually provides some insight into life, and in my opinion that makes up for a lot. If someone had told me how much of the book was devoted to personal details, I probably would have been less enthusiastic about reading it. As it turns out, though, while I would have preferred more details about playing blackjack, I enjoyed the personal details more than I would have expected.

There are some things in this book that will interest a serious blackjack player, although experienced card counters will have already encountered most of the situations that Custer discusses. I initially laughed when I read Custer's projection as to how many hours of play he thought he'd be able to get in each day, but he soon came to see why his initial projections were inaccurate. I found it interesting that the author chose to use the Hi-Opt II count mostly against shoe games. I wish he would have discussed the pros and cons of this as well. His discourse on the life of a blackjack card counter isn't very advanced or very detailed, but it is accurate.

Most books depicting the life of a professional gambler romanticize this vocation. In many ways, however, 21 -- A Journey provides a stronger argument for why folks should not become professional blackjack players. It's not that gambling causes problems in Custer's life, it's more the case that problems in his life lead him to expend considerable energy chasing limited returns at the blackjack table. Consequently, the book may not be what the aspiring blackjack player is looking for, but that doesn't mean it has nothing interesting to say.

I wouldn't say that 21 -- A Journey is a great book on the game of blackjack, but it's not bad. It's an interesting story and perspective on the game and life. The specifics of Custer's blackjack play aren't as detailed as I'd like, and there's more back story in this book than I might have expected, but it provides an unexpected twist on a familiar story. There's no real climax to the book, so even though the reader may learn some life lessons from these pages we have to wonder whether the author did. This isn't a strategic book, but beginning blackjack players and those looking for another blackjack story will probably find it worthwhile. I give it a mild recommendation.

© 2006-2012 ReadyBetGo!

ReadyBetGo! is an independent gambling news and information service. If you plan to play in casinos, ensure
that you are not breaking any local laws. It's up to you to know the legality of your actions when you gamble.