The famed blackjack author known as Lawrence Revere was actually born Griffith K. Owens (he would also use the pseudonyms Leonard "Specs" Parsons and Paul Mann during his lifetime). A leading blackjack expert during the 60's and early 70's, he would make a living for 28 years as a pitboss, dealer, owner, troubleshooter, and professional blackjack player.
Revere began his career in blackjack at the age of 13, dealing cards in the smoky back room of an Iowa barbershop. He later attended and graduated from the University of Nebraska, majoring in Mathematics. After getting his degree, he traveled west and embarked on a career as a professional gambler in 1943.
Despite his success in many areas of the gambling industry, Revere will be best remembered for his one major contribution to the game of blackjack: a book entitled Playing Blackjack as a Business. Considered by many to be the finest tutorial written on how to beat blackjack by card counting, Revere first published the book in 1968 but didn't bother to copyright the text until 1969, when John Luckman, former dealer at the Dunes and founder of the Gambler's Book club, convinced him to protect his work.
The book includes four different count strategies, including the legendary Revere Point Count. This strategy was developed with the assistance of Julian H. Braun of the IBM Corporation and took over 9 billion computer-dealt hands on high-speed computers to develop. The book also contains 70 charts, many of which are still widely used by gamblers today. Many critics have noted that the rest of the book is somewhat outdated since it chooses to concentrate on the now-rare one and four deck blackjack games.
In the book, Revere describes a basic counting strategy which he calls the "Revere Five Count Strategy." This system basically teaches the player to track the number of fives in a single deck game.
There's also the "Reverse Plus-Minus Strategy," which Professor Edward Thorp included in later printings of Beat the Dealer.
The book then delves into the "Ten Count Strategy" and the "Revere Point Count Strategy," a sophisticated Level 2 counting system.
After going into exhaustive detail on each of these counting systems, Revere next explains how to vary your strategy and betting practices as the count changes for each.
Not surprisingly, the man who boasts that he was "barred from playing in all Nevada casinos" doesn't devote much time to how to avoid suspicious dealers and pitbosses. His thoughts on the matter, as well as his general writing style, are fairly blunt and in-your-face. No doubt, casino techniques for spotting card counters are far more sophisticated than they were in the late 60's, so this is another area of the book which may have become hopelessly outdated.
Even though it's been 35 years since it was first published, Playing Blackjack as a Business remains a well-respected tome and is considered a must-read for the serious gambler. In fact, it's sold more copies since its original release than any other gaming book in history.
In 1977, Lawrence Revere was diagnosed with terminal lung and liver cancer, and, after a difficult seven week struggle, he passed away on April 23rd of that year. And although he may no longer be with us, his popular book assures him of immortality in the gambling world.
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