The full name for the book known as Beyond Counting by James Grosjean is actually Beyond Counting: Exploiting Casino Games from Blackjack to Video Poker. Because the name is often shortened, it’s easy to assume that Grosjean’s book is just about counting cards to gain an advantage playing blackjack. The book, now available in an updated version called Exhibit CAA: Beyond Counting, is no longer available from the publisher in its original edition, but the 2000 text is considered a classic on the subject of turning casino games into profitable entertainment without breaking the law.
More About James Grosjean
Grosjean’s Beyond Counting is written based on his experience as an expert at advantage gambling. When his first advice book went on sale in 2000, it was one of the most popular books on the subject, applying mathematics he learned as a grad student at the University of Chicago studying Economics to various casino games. Since the advicev in the book is all about combining a logical approach to games of chance and skill, the topics covered in the book are totally legal.
If the name James Grosjean is familiar to you, it may be because he made headlines in 2005 for winning legal verdicts against casinos and their investigative agencies. The state of Nevada found that Caesars Palace falsely imprisoned, battered, and then defamed the gambler and a partner of his, eventually awarding the pair nearly $600,000.
You might also know the author as the youngest member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame, inducted alongside big names like Stanford Wong and Edward O. Thorp. Besides writing the classic advantage gambler book, he’s an expert blackjack player, even appearing on TV in CBS’ Ultimate Blackjack Tour.
What Does the Book Teach?
Far from a blackjack strategy book, Beyond Counting attempts to teach gamblers how to turn a wide range of negative expectation games like roulette and slots into games where the casino has no edge against the player. In other words, it’s a gambling strategy book, covering a number of different ways to wager. The new version, Exhibit CAA, expands on the first book, adding more information the writer has learned, allowing him to cover even more games.
The author uses mathematics to explain the optimal bets on titles traditionally avoided by advantage gamblers, like Three Card Poker or the Big Six Wheel. If you’re expecting another book on basic blackjack strategy, you’ll be surprised. From card counting, shuffle tracking, and hole card strategy, this title lays out not just the ways to make advantage bets but also shows the equations his ideas are based on. If you’re a little afraid of math, don’t worry, you can still learn plenty, but it’s nice to see the science behind the advice.
Games & Strategies Covered by the Book
This title offer advantage playing tips on a wide variety of games, including titles like Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, craps, and other table games that aren’t normally discussed in advantage gambling strategy titles. But I’d say the wide variety of titles covered and the methods you have to use to make positive expectation wagers are for experienced gamblers – beginners may not get as much from this particular title as people more familiar with the ins and outs of basic strategy.
Not everything taught in either the updated Exhibit CAA or the original manuscript use mathematics or memorization tactics -sometimes the author combines a working knowledge of a game’s best bets with a little sleight of hand on the part of the gambler. For example, learning how to turn Three Card Poker into an advantage game requires the ability to read cards coming off the deck. That means finding a dealer who is being a little lazy with the shuffling and learning from the author how to use this information to make smarter bets.
Other Advantage Gambling Lessons
A large section of the book is dedicated to another practice that requires a little mental acuity as well as basic strategic information, something the writer calls blackjack shuffle tracking. Reading the book will help you remember where certain cards are located in the deck so that you can track where they end up, even after a shuffle.
The book again uses mathematics to prove that a truly random shuffle would require the dealer mix the shoe up 30 times or more – when you learn shuffle tracking, you gain an advantage by having inside information about where the shoe’s 10 cards and aces are. Shuffle tracking is sort like “card counting lite,” but if you practice the steps outlined in this section, you may know when it’s smart to increase your bets in a way that’s totally legal.
Another method espoused by the author is called roulette wheel clocking, a technique that attempts to teach you how to predict where the bouncing ball will land. If you feel like you’ve heard this before, you have. Detecting mechanical bias has been a way of winning at roulette for years. When the writer suggests tracking winning numbers to see if a wheel has a natural bias for a certain spot on the wheel, he’s really just rehashing old roulette strategy advice that’s been around for years.
Overall, the book covers a lot of advantage gambling topics in easy-to-understand language. When the writer throws in the math behind finding positive expectation bets, he appeals to those gamblers who approach games, like the writer himself, from a statistical perspective. In the advantage gambling community, Exhibit CAA: Beyond Counting is considered a classic. Though some of the advice in the book, specifically the roulette wheel bias strategy material, is a little bit questionable, gamblers looking for advice on positive expectation have a lot to learn from either the original or the updated version.