Don Schlesinger

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Donald Schlesinger is a gaming mathematician, author, lecturer, player, and member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame who specializes in the casino game of blackjack. His work in the field has spanned almost four decades. He is the author of the book Blackjack Attack - Playing the Pros' Way, currently in its third edition, which is considered one of the most sophisticated theoretical and practical studies of the game to date.[1]

Schlesinger was born in New York City and graduated from the City College of New York (CCNY) with a B.S. degree in mathematics. In addition, he holds M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in French from the City University of New York. Don began his professional life teaching mathematics and French in the New York City school system. In 1984, he changed professions and, until 1998, was a principal (executive director) at a Wall Street investment bank.[2] Since his retirement from the finance industry, he has devoted even more time to blackjack, in a researching, writing, teaching, and playing capacity.

His contributions to the game include research into optimal betting, risk analysis, optimal back counting, Floating Advantage, camouflage and team play,[3]:107, 122, 147, 227

He is most well known for:

  • Creating the Illustrious 18, an abridged set of the most efficient card counting indices mentioned in most card counting books published in the last 30 years.[4][5]
  • Creating DI (Desirability Index) and SCORE (Standard Comparison of Risk and Expectation), to optimally compare games under various scenarios.[6]
  • Publication of the optimal blackjack composition-dependent basic strategy.[6]:267–268

Schlesinger has edited, consulted and/or collaborated with many of the leading blackjack analysts, programmers, and authors, including Stanford Wong, Edward O. Thorp, Peter Griffin, Arnold Snyder, Karel Janeček, John Auston, Katarina Walker, and Norm Wattenberger. In addition, he has contributed to many different issues of the aficionado magazine Blackjack Forum.

Books that mention Schlesinger include:

  • Repeat Until Rich by Josh Axelrad
  • Blackjack: A Professional Reference, the Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One by Michael Dalton
  • The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic by Dr. Richard Arnold Epstein
  • The Doctrine of Chances: Probabilistic Aspects of Gambling By Dr. Stewart N. Ethier
  • Finding the edge: mathematical analysis of casino games By Dr. Olaf Vancura, Dr. Judy A. Cornelius, Dr. William R. Eadington
  • Burning the Tables in Las Vegas by Ian Andersen
  • Professional Blackjack by Dr. Stanford Wong
  • Risk and Reward: The Science of Casino Blackjack by Dr. N. Richard Werthamer
  • Knock-Out Blackjack by Dr. Olaf Vancura, Ken Fuchs
  • Basic Blackjack by Dr. Stanford Wong
  • The Blackjack Zone by Dr. Eliot Jacobsen
  • Legends of Blackjack by Kevin Blackwood and Larry Barker
  • Play Blackjack Like the Pros by Kevin Blackwood
  • Blackjack autumn: a true tale of life, death, and splitting tens by Barry Meadow
  • Blackjack: Play Like the Pros by John Bukofsky
  • Frugal Video Poker by Jean Scott
  • Dynamic Blackjack by Dr. Richard Reid
  • Blackjack Blueprint by Rick Blaine
  • Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder
  • Blackjack Diary by Stuart Perry
  • Beyond Counting by Dr. James Grosjean
  • Hollywood Blackjack by Dave Stann
  • The Pro's Guide to Spanish 21 and Australian Pontoon by Katarina Walker
  • Modern Blackjack by Norm Wattenberger
  • Bootlegger's 200 Proof Blackjack by Mike Turner
  • You've Got Heat by Barfarkel
  • Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling: Winning Ways by Andrew Brisman
  • Silver Fox Blackjack System by Ralph Stricker
  • Get the Edge at Blackjack by John May

Books that briefly acknowledge Schlesinger:

  • Gambling 102: The Best Stratgies for All Casino Games by Michael Shackleford
  • Gambling Theory and Other Topics by Mason Malmuth
  • Blackjack for Blood by Bryce Carlson
  • Extra Stuff by Dr. Peter Griffin
  • Blackjack Essays by Mason Malmuth
  • Gambling for Winners: Your Hard-Headed, No B.S. Guide to Gaming by Richard Stooker
  • Fundamentals of "21" by Mason Malmuth, Lynne Loomis


  1. ^ Knapp, George (20 May 2004). "Knappster: Is what's good for Macau good for Vegas?". Archived from the original on 22 August 2004. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Donald Schlesinger". Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  3. ^ Blackwood, Kevin. Play blackjack like the pros (1st ed.). HarperResource. ISBN 978-0060731120.
  4. ^ "Encyclopedia of Casino Twenty-One". Spur of the Moment Publishing. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
  5. ^ Blackwood, Kevin "Play Blackjack Like the Pros", 2005, Harper Collins, pages 18, 68-70, 85
  6. ^ a b Epstein, Richard A. (2009). The theory of gambling and statistical logic (2nd ed.). Academic Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0123749406.

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