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Card Counting for the Casino Executive

Card Counting for the Casino Executive

Bill Zender has written a book that’s an A-category must-have for serious gamblers. While written, ostensibly, to enlighten casino executives about what to look out for, Advantage Play for the Casino Executive provides a wealth of information for players, with the added bonus of providing perspective from the casino side. This is a powerful element that Zender brings to the table because he’s a true triple threat, with extensive experience as a player, an operator, and an enforcement agent for Nevada Gaming Control. Bottom line: He imparts solid and sophisticated information that you can trust.

Is it too sophisticated? In some areas, yes. For example, the treatment of shuffle tracking is long and dry, and if you aren’t into it, you won’t take much away. Other blackjack topics include hole card, location play, tells, warps, and a rare discussion of “card sorts,” which includes information on the obscure strategy of “playing edges.” There are also discussions about using hole card information for Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud. Again, this is all heady stuff. But there’s more that will appeal to a broader audience. Zender writes about biased roulette wheels, recounting the great story of Billy Walters’ assault on the Atlantic City wheels. There’s another good discussion concerning the debate about whether dice can be controlled with “rhythm rolling” (he’s dubious). For video poker players, there’s a big section on combining return percentages, cashback, and promotions to gain an edge (Jean Scott style). The introduction alone, which describes an incredibly creative blackjack play in Atlantic City, will be worth the price of the book for many. So there’s probably enough here to make most purchasers happy. Of course, for serious gamblers and members of the casino industry, the coverage, along with the supporting charts and tables (optimal hole-card strategy, correlation/combination betting, etc) is a treasure chest.

There are a couple of negatives. First, the book was not edited well and contains a lot of typos. It’s a little distracting, but shouldn’t undermine your confidence in the information (and Zender writes well otherwise). And second, the spiral binding is flimsy (our review copy came apart). These are secondary considerations, however, to the overall strength of the work.

About The Author(s)

Bill Zender
Bill Zender has an MBA and more than 30 years experience in the gaming industry. He’s widely recognized within the industry as a leading authority on all aspects of casino management and game protection and is much sought after as a gaming operations consultant and lecturer. Bill is a former part owner, vice president, and Director of Casino Operations at the Aladdin Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, and has written a number of books on game protection and advantage play, including the first book on card counting written specifically for the casino industry.

In addition to these accomplishments, Bill spent two years as a member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board as an agent with the Division of Enforcement; owner and instructor at PCI Dealing School; Asian games manager at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas; and the interim General Manager at the Casino San Pablo, a card room and casino in California. He also spent some time on the other side of the gaming table as a professional card counter and advantage player. Presently, Zender is the owner and primary consultant for Last Resort Consulting.

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