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Repeat Until Rich: A Professional Card Counter's Chronicle of the Blackjack Wars

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  185 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Hard cover book.Josh Axelrad is a former professional blackjack player whose writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nervous Breakdown and elsewhere.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published February 26th 2010)
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Josh Axelrad
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
When prose suggests a real man lurking somewhere in back of the page, you go to your knees and clasp hands and mouth "thank you" and you cry.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We found this funny, eccentric, and strangely insightful. We never even thought about what goes on in the head of a casino employee until we read this book! Check out the rest of our review here:
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it
The story was interesting enough, but the writing was just hilarious. The author wasn't trying to be funny. It was clear he was trying really hard to write articulately and sound impressive, but most of it just made me laugh. The people around me ended up hearing me quoting him throughout the book. It is a quick read.

I made notes of my favorite quotes from the books. Here are some of them: Everyone should read #6

1. "I never know quite what to say to a woman in the absence of sexual tension."

Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
I sincerely wish I had read this one before Bringing Down the House. This book tells a similar story, but with much more depth. Josh Axelrad talks about the excitement of card counting: throwing tens of thousands of dollars in cash around, comped suites, being chased out by security, and traveling around the country hitting casino after casino for thousands. But he doesn't stop here. He also addresses the attraction of professional gambling and the holes it leaves in his life. After the game is ...more
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is a strange, disjointed book that should have either been a bunch of essays, two books, or a movie, but it fails as a connected novel. The author spends about 2/3 of the book telling about his marginally interesting life as a professional blackjack player before awkwardly moving into his struggles as an online poker addict.

The editor should have wiped the last section from the book and done a better job of cobbling the blackjack story together. The author's escapades on a team of blackjack
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty good tale- beginning was very hunter Thompson esque, end was a little pathetic
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is GREAT!! Well told, well-written, just brilliant. Highly personal and highly engaging. I loved, loved, LOVED IT!!! Cannot recommend it enough!!!
Joel Lantz
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Started great. By the end I just wanted to punch the author in the head.
Julie Franki
Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Since GoodReads doesn't have fractional stars, I sometimes get stuck figuring out my basic rating. With this book especially, how much entertainment can be derived from it depends on how interested you are in the subject matter (which is clearly spelled out in its title). Usually I'm not particularly interested in the subject of gambling (I've never had the desire to enter a casino or even buy a lottery ticket), but the idea of legally cheating casinos out of money by running a complicated, orga ...more
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really enjoy true life gambling memoirs, but "Repeat Until Rich" just didn't deliver. This book started out okay, with standard blackjack counting scenarios a la "Bringing Down the House". There were also some good stories and adventures in there. But some of the writing was just too generic and glossed over. I would have liked more details and descriptions of the systems, gambling trips, player lifestyle and actual battles with the casinos. There were some good ones, but just not enough.

Zora O'Neill
May 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ah-ha! That's what all those card-counters are up to! Dissipation in Vegas, of course, but also a lot of roaming the country facing down the true bleakness of casinos and 'gaming' culture. This would've been an OK book as it was originally planned, but then in the process of writing it, Axelrad fritters away his book advance on online poker, which adds a whole other dimension to the story. Bad for Axelrad, but great for the book. And the last chapter, about meditation, was just as fascinating, i ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Josh Axelrad delivers on what was promised - an engaging memoir about card counting and life that goes along with it. However, what really separates this from other similar novels is the honesty of his account. The novel begins with Axelrad as a lost aspiring card counter and ends with him as a broken gambling addict aching to reclaim the heights he experienced along the way. The journey is the compelling part, as he recounts the greatest of successes and worst of failures on his way to completi ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I really, really loved this book. A brutally honest memoir about the extreme highs and lows of professional gambling and gambling addiction, this is a must-read. The subject matter is also something I find fascinating because I don't have the brainpower to do anything like count cards (mine is all used up on TV trivia and facts about bananas).

Loved it. Short chapters kept me turning pages, and the easy, familiar writing style didn't make any of it seem like a chore.

I've been reading a lot of mem
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is not the sort of book I would normally pick up, seeing as how I don't care about gambling, seldom get into memoirs, and don't like fast-paced, anxiety-inducing realistic stories. But Josh Axelrad happens to be a sort of friend of mine, and I saw him occasionally in New York during the time of his life that he describes in this book. I bought it when it came out, but it took me this long to get around to reading it. He's a great story-teller, and a I think that (in general and in this book ...more
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A fascinating, if dark, look at the "game" of Man v. Casino. In Axelrad's case, he seemed to win the game, until he stopped working with a counting crew and started playing solo on-line poker.

His vivid recollections of the cat-and-mouse interaction between players and enforcers reveal a whole 'nother world with its own set of rule. And the swiftness with which he lost his "stake" on the internet is scary.
Rob Eelkema
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
If there every was a day in your life where you wanted to quit your job and count cards for a living, read this fast-paced book. This was sent to me by my dad and all he wrote was "you can relate" and I really did. I loved the book and read it quickly.....didn't want it to end. Gamblers have something in common and I could really relate to Josh Axlerad's descriptions of his feelings when winning and losing.
Asails F
If you ever have a chance to see Josh give a book read or lecture do not miss out. He will keep you on your toes.

After reading about card reading I only can think how organized a business it is. I once lived near a casino where I took my late night walks. He inspired me to write a story about what I saw in the casino all from my 500 or more visits.
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
When I first started reading this book, I thought the writing was heavy handed and the similes a bit much. Once I got into the groove, however, I found that it really fit Axelrad's description of getting into the semi-glamorous world of card counting. Once his life goes off the rails, the books becomes impossible to put down.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you ever have a chance to see Josh give a book read or lecture do not miss out. He will keep you on your toes.

After reading about card reading I only can think how organized a business it is. I once lived near a casino where I took my late night walks. He inspired me to write a story about what I saw in the casino all from my 500 or more visits.
Lois Pozolo
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked this book and it was a quick easy read. I had heard Josh on The Moth podcast about his tales as a professional gambler and that interested me to getting his book.
Interesting how the teams were set up and worked and I enjoyed hearing about all the different casinos with their rules & regulations.
Good Book !
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it
I'd probably give this 3.5 stars. I did not like him and thought the story was a little self serving. Another get rich quick scheme for him. This wasn't half as good as the other true story about blackjack which was the one that became a movie.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
The first half had some interesting blackjack stuff, but then the book just took a nosedive in the last half.
May 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: haveread
This book was nothing special. I enjoy reading about card players. However, this book was poorly written, had no point, and taught me nothing new.
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
The author/main character is tough to like, which makes the book tough to like.
Dysmonia Kuiper
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-352
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Kind of an interesting story, Read like fiction. Not a very good author, but not too bad.
Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Another card counter book. I get suckered into these and they are generally good but not great. Not bad writing but the ending was def not what I was expecting.
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
I heard the author give an interview on the radio, and he was fascinating. The book was quite "meh", though.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I posted a full review over on Amazon:
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
interesting look at card counting and the highs and lows of being a professional gambler. the ending was a little weak, but what did i expect, the guys a gambler not an author.
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Pre-orders, oh 1 8 Jan 23, 2010 01:46PM  
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Josh Axelrad is a former professional blackjack player and author of the memoir Repeat Until Rich . He was born in Southern California.
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