Jerry L. Patterson is the author of five gambling related books. His first book, Blackjack: A Winner's Handbook, was published in 1977. He wrote the Casino Gambling column in the Philadelphia Inquirer which was later syndicated. Patterson wrote Casino Gambling: A Winner’s Guide to Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Casino Poker in 1980. This book was revised in 2000 to reflect changing gaming rules, methods, and conditions.
In the late 1970's and early 1980's, Patterson developed and published a method for tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play. This is known as "shuffle-tracking".
In 1982, a lawsuit initiated by Ken Uston prohibited the Atlantic City casinos from barring card counters but allowed the casinos to establish new blackjack rules making it much more difficult to attain an advantage in the multi-deck shoe game, except for players willing to play to the long-term. Since most of Patterson's clients and book readers are recreational, short-term players, he published a special report advising them of the potential impact of these new rules on their blackjack play.
Patterson also responded to these restrictive new blackjack rules by developing (with Eddie Olsen), a non-counting strategy called TARGET 21. This non-counting blackjack strategy caused the division of blackjack players into two groups which Patterson refers to as traditional players and new era players.
TARGET is controversial and considered unscientific by respected blackjack experts.
Patterson defines a traditional player as a player who uses a card counting point-count system and plays to the long run.
He defines a new era player as one who understands that the game has changed and who is willing to consider winning strategies and tactics based on both card counting and non-card counting methods oriented to the short-term.