Blackbelt in Blackjack

Arnold Snyder‘s Blackbelt in Blackjack: Playing 21 as a Martial Art is an excellent book for the beginning advantage player. Unlike many people selling a system Snyder is refreshingly honest about what it takes to become a good advantage player and what to expect in terms of efforts and returns. All of Snyder’s card counting systems are still relevant, and he was one of the first to suggest that simplifying a count was not necessarily a bad thing, because Snyder understood very early on that the effort it takes to master a more powerful system is not for everyone. Not every advantage player has the time, nor does everyone necessarily want to go pro. Moreover, the complexity of many counts is only a handicap if it causes players to make errors which are much more fatal to accuracy than a less powerful count is.

The book is divided into three parts, the white belt, green belt and black belt sections. In the white belt section you can read up about the very basics of blackjack, such as the rules, basic strategy, and essential facts about casino blackjack. He also explains the basic card counting system Red Sevens. The green belt section will probably be the most valuable part of the book to most readers. Here Snyder introduces two more systems, Hi-Lo Lite and the more complex Zen Count, but more importantly it also discusses betting strategies and how to avoid being detected by casino personel. The black belt section really focusses on pro techniques such as team play and shuffle tracking, and also features a brief overview of special rules and advice for the high roller.

Even though Snyder’s discussion of the difficulties involved in beating the dealer is still largely up to date, it is advisable to keep an eye out for the latest edition of this book (the 1998 revised and expanded edition).