Richard Munchkin

In the world of blackjack, Richard Munchkin is probably best know for his many interviews with blackjack celebrities and as a tournament player, but he also enjoyed a career as a movie director, writer and producer in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. He is the author of Gambling Wizards and competed in the World Series of Blackjack.

Getting into Gambling

Richard Munchkin, born Richard Jacobs (1955, Chicago), was already into gaming in his early childhood, playing gin runny and chess from a very early age. At the age of twelve a relative suggested to him that he might play one of the games he excelled at, backgammon, for money. Munchkin snatched up the idea and studied every gaming book he could get his hands on. By the time he went to college he had acquired enough expertise to put himself through college with the money he earned playing backgammon. After graduating he moved to Las Vegas and got a job as a blackjack player, where he studied the game from the other side of the table.

Hollywood Interlude

In the late 80s Richard Munchkin put aside his gambling interests in Las Vegas and moved to Hollywood to pursue a career directing, writing and producing movies. Hollywood and gambling seem to be interests that run in the family. Munchkin’s younger brother Jake Jacobs, now a freelance writer and professional gambler in a blackjack team, was trained as an actor and starred in Munchkin’s first movie, Dance or Die. Munchkin also directed a number of martial arts flicks and episodes in the TV series LA Heat and Hollywood Safari. His Hollywood career spanned all through the 90s.

Getting Back to Gambling

In 2004 Richard Munchkin returned to the world of blackjack with a splash when he competed in the first season of the televised blackjack tournament the World Series of Blackjack, in which he was the runner up of the fifth round and competed in the Wild Card round against players including Micheal Konik and “Hollywood” Dave Stann. In the same year he also returned to the world of film serving as second unit director on a film, but the lure of blackjack proved stronger even than Hollywood.

Blackjack Author

Competing in the WSoB, it struck Munchkin that many professional gamblers have extraordinary experiences and stories that very few people know about. The idea of bringing these exciting stories of blackjack players and other professional gamblers to a wider audience naturally appealed to Munchkin, who had for more than a decade been in the business of conveying action and excitement via film media. He began interviewing professional gamblers, and his incisive interviews quickly gained notice due to his knowledge of the gambling world and the facility with which Munchkin seems to be able to convince people to share their most exciting stories.

Conversations with the Wizards

Munchkin collected a number of his interviews in his first book, Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World’s Greatest Gamblers, in which he speaks to many gamblers including blackjack, poker, backgammon players, horse-racing and sports betters. He has continued to publish interviews in Arnold Snyder‘s Blackjack Forum, and is working on a book of interviews with Blackjack players titled Blackjack Wizards. He was inducted in the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2009 by a community grateful to him for immortalizing the stories of their personal and professional enterprises.