Probably the most famous casino “low roller” is Jean Scott, dubbed the Queen of Ku Pon by the Las Vegas Advisor. Ms. Scott even demonstrated her skill (and won a car) for CBS’s 48 Hours TV show. If there is anyone who knows how to get more for less in the Las Vegas system, I can’t imagine who it might be.
I was wondering what she’d write about, seeing as how the “getting something for nothing in Las Vegas” literary genre was already pretty well covered. What new tricks would the Queen tell us about? What new information will bring me up to date? What does she know that I don’t?
The book is very realistic about what it takes to get ahead. It’s also very accommodating to various readers’ preferences and styles. If one doesn’t want to play exclusively positive expectation video ligaz11 poker, she tells the reader how to get as far as possible playing the slots, or craps, or whatever the reader might want to do. Scott is very up front that this is still gambling, and one can still lose more than what one might expect. At the same time there is some serious good advice about how to read slot clubs, how to ask casino employees for what one wants, and what to read for the best advice on how to play a winning game of video poker.
Despite this good advice, and it is sound and well delivered, there isn’t as much new information here as the reader might have hoped. A lot of this information is already present in Anthony Curtis’ Bargain City and Jeffrey Compton’s The Las Vegas Advisor Guide to Slot Clubs. If one has already read these books, I’m not sure there’s enough new here to be worth the time and energy. Again, nothing here is bad and there is new information, just not enough for me to overwhelmingly recommend reading this book.
New topics Scott does cover include how (and why) to get bumped from an airline flight, tips to longer term (more than a week) stays in Las Vegas, and taking advantage of casino promotions. If any of this information is of particular interest, that would be enough to push me to truly recommend this book. Otherwise, it’s good only if the other two books mentioned above aren’t already familiar. It’s also worthwhile to note that very little of the book is specific to the here and now. As long as casinos continue to provide full pay video poker machines and slot clubs, the information in this book will retain its value.
This is a good book about how to get the most from Las Vegas by receiving comps. The advice in this book is sound and it communicates its ideas well, but it doesn’t add a whole lot new on the topic. There are good ideas here, and if one doesn’t already understand how to use the comp system to offset the costs of a Las Vegas vacation, The Frugal Gambler is a very good value. Otherwise, the book provides significant new information only on a few select topics.
Review of Blackjack Attack
Until the publication of Blackjack Attack, Don Schlesinger was probably the most influential and respected Blackjack authority who had never written a book. Blackjack Attack is primarily a collection of Schlesinger’s articles that have been published in Arnold Snyder’s Blackjack Forum since 1984. Many of them have been expanded and updated here.
This is by no means the first book an aspiring card counter should read. It provides no basic introduction to the game and describes no card counting system. It doesn’t explain the rules, the jargon, or any other basic aspect of Blackjack. The reader is expected to have read, practiced, and understood at least one card counting system and to have tried it out in live play. If this isn’t the case, the reader is not ready to understand this book, although the recommendations at the end will steer one in the right direction.
Instead, this book is aimed at the already practicing card counter who wants to take their game to the next level. In this light, the lack of repetitive and familiar background material is a blessing. With the first article, Blackjack Attack launches into new territory that is not covered in nearly this depth, if at all, in any other work. When these essays first appeared in print, they almost universally became instant classics, changing for the better the way players thought about the game. They are all, at worst, well worth reading, at best, they will fundamentally improve how one thinks about Blackjack.
Some of the essays include, “Back-counting the Shoe Game”, the first of Schelsinger’s essays to appear in Blackjack Forum, which describes what’s going through his mind as he table hops through the Atlantic City casinos. We also get “Attacking the Shoe”, where Schlesinger explains the rationale behind his now famous “Illustrious 18” decision indices. Additionally, the often misunderstood “Floating Advantage” is explained here with extreme clarity. These are all important topics, and they were described in print by Schlesinger first.
The only fair criticism that I can come up with is that those who already have all of Schlesinger’s Blackjack Forum articles have the majority of information contained in this book. Even so, those that are serious enough to have already obtained these articles will get their money’s worth from the expanded essays, new data, and convenience of having all this wonderful information in one place. This is not a book for beginners, but for those who have already learned and practiced a card counting system, this book is invaluable.
Schlesinger is well known as a person who has been willing to go out of his way to help eager students learn more about the game he understands so well. This book is a masterful teaching effort for those who are willing to put in the effort to understand what he has to say. While the information here is hardly light reading, his writing is clear, his mathematics are sound, and his insights are eminently worth while. Schlesinger cements his reputation as a master teacher of the game in Blackjack Attack.
This is not the first book one wants to read on card counting in Blackjack, but it is one that every serious counter must have. If you’re just starting out, set this book aside for now, but once one has already learned, practiced, and used a Blackjack card counting system, this book will become a gold mine of information on how to take one’s game to the next level.