Blackjack Card Counting Book, Burning the Tables in Las Vegas

The second most influential book in my quest to become a professional gambler was the blackjack card counting book by Ian Andersen, Burning the Tables in Las Vegas. In my opinion, it is the greatest blackjack card counting book of all-time. I believe Ed Thorpe, author of Beat the Dealer, was a pioneer and true genius, but for me Burning the Tables in Las Vegas has everything you need to be successful at blackjack card counting.

Blackjack Card Counting
At the time I read this book, I was still unclear which direction my professional gambling career was headed. Once I finished reading the book the question was quickly answered, I was going to learn blackjack card counting.

Ian Andersen’s book portrayed the exact vision I had in my head of a professional gambler. It was everything I wanted and more. He made learning to count cards practical, and he explained many of the real-life situations faced by card counting blackjack professionals. His book took all the pieces necessary to become a professional blackjack player and fit them together perfectly.

He explained how he traveled from casino to casino hiding right under their noses all the while taking their money. He didn’t view the casino as his adversary, but rather his provider. His view was that without the casino, he wouldn’t be able to make money so why hate them.

His talent as a gambling writer is one I can only hope to one day emulate. He presents the material in a way that makes the readers believe it is attainable without misleading them. By that I mean, many gambling books are written as if Albert Einstein himself would have trouble learning how to count cards. Then you have the other end of the spectrum, where the author proclaims you can win millions every time you sit down at the blackjack table. Mr. Anderson did a fantastic job of landing right in the middle.
After reading Burning the Tables in Las Vegas, I knew I wanted everything Mr. Andersen described in his book. I knew I could learn to count cards and I did, but the difficulty was the portrayal of a “High-roller.”

The book describes how you must convince the casino that there is no way you could be counting cards. Part of that is through certain “cover plays” while your actually playing blackjack, and the other part is through very cordial relations with the casino employees. In fact, so friendly that they would never conceive the notion that you may be a card counter. This is where my trouble occurred. I could learn all the cover plays, but acting was not really me. I’m not a warm gregarious guy who engages strangers in personal conversation, I just can’t do it.

I learned to count cards, but my blackjack card counting career lasted about two months. I knew if I wanted to succeed long-term I needed to develop a larger than life personality, which I really didn’t have. There are successful card counters who use the tactic of trying to remain undetected, but the whole cat and mouse game wasn’t for me. I decided to take a different path, but Burning the Tables remains with me to this day.

Ian Andersen is not the author’s real name, no one knows who he is. He was able to publish two books, Turning the Tables on Las Vegas was the original and Burning the Tables in Las Vegas was the updated version, all the while he continued his card counting career.

Blackjack Card Counting

I achieved some success as a pro gambler, but never to the level of Ian Andersen. He lives the dream every professional gambler envisions. He was my mentor in many ways with his book, but the life he describes still remains a fantasy to me. I hope some day Mr. Andersen unveils himself, I would love to speak with him. Right now, I guess all I can hope is for Ian Anderson to write another book and maybe this time I’ll learn it all.

About Greg Elder

I was 37 years old, a husband and father, a former teacher, college and high school basketball coach, and a business owner, I decided to give it all up (Not the husband and father part) to take a shot at pro gambling. I was coming off a job I hated selling insurance, and I vowed to do something I was passionate about. For the next year I would spend 12-15 hours a day researching, studying, and practicing advantage gambling techniques. The goal was to see if I could sustain our current lifestyle as a professional gambler. I wanted to find out if casinos really could be beat. At the time, I thought it may be the biggest mistake of my life, but my intentions were to have fun trying. It has been an interesting few years since that journey began. My feature book GAMBLERS FIGHT BACK has been released and can be purchased on my author site at I would consider my pro gambling career to be a success on all fronts. I didn't win millions of dollars, but I was able to enjoy every minute of it. It brought an excitement and passion back into my professional life. It has helped lead me to a writing career that I had no idea I even wanted before this challenge. I was able to write a book that shared with others exactly what I learned along the way.. Gambling professionally is not easy, but there are certain things the average gambler can do to increase their chances of success tremendously. That's the information I try to pass along to my readers.

5 Responses to “Blackjack Card Counting Book, Burning the Tables in Las Vegas”

  1. This is the best book and it was the wonderful addition in the gambling history.I go through the book i found it wonderful.I have already posted articles on card counting ,no doubt card counting is the key to success in blackjack.I meet a lot of blackjack players ,they all agree that with out card counting skills a player is nothing

    • I totally agree. Thanks for your insights. Keep in touch.

    • gambling at an online caniso seems to have a greater house advantage than a brick and mortar caniso but i guess it is all in the games themselves and not the caniso.

      • You’re right that it does depend on the game more than the casino itself, but online casino’s actually set their slot machines at a higher payback than most land-based casinos. They can do that because they don’t have the overhead. The problem with playing online is it’s so convenient it can be tough to keep under control. The bottom line is you need the right game and the right casino to an extent because casinos set different rules for blackjack and different pay tables for video poker. Thanks for the input. Hope this helps.


  1. Cool new app lets you beat the Blackjack table - October 23, 2012

    […] Blackjack Card Counting Book, Burning the Tables in Las Vegas […]

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