A Look at Arnold Snyder’s Radical Blackjack

Gambling News

Arnold Snyder is one of the initial seven members inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. His book, Radical Blackjack, published by Huntington Press, has been in the works for years. I’ve heard many of the stories in it from Arnold himself, but I finally got to read it and there were lot of new things.

I’m not going to give all of Snyder’s arguments as spoiler alerts. But I will touch on what he discusses. If this is something you are interested in, get the book. My goal is to give you enough information for you to decide whether the book has value for you.

  1. When is it smart to double on a hard 12?
  2. When is it smart to insure for less than half your bet?
  3. What are the main features of loss rebates and how do you figure out how much you should win or lose before you stop?

Those are probably the main theories advanced in the book that are not discussed at length in other blackjack books. 

And then there are the stories. Arnold is a gifted storyteller and writer. I’m a reasonably competent hack in those areas, and I appreciate listening to or reading a master at work. Arnold is a master. Arnold has been playing and writing for decades. He knows many of the other strong players who’ve played during that time period and has stories about many of them. He tells about court cases involving players where he was either a defendant or an expert witness. He tells about his wife, Radar, and how she helped him on many of his plays. He tells about the time he was invited, while seated next to his wife, to a promotion where he would be “entitled” to a Penthouse Pet for a weekend. And his wife encouraged him to go!

There are a number of stories about his shuffle tracking exploits, along with those where he hole carded, ace sequenced, edge sorted, and steered cards to or away from the dealers. This is not a “how to” book on doing these things. But it explains more about how to do it and what the potential is than many gamblers know.

Finally, he lists short biographies of everybody in the Blackjack Hall of Fame and how he knows them. (He’s met them all except Ian Anderson who is a recluse reportedly living in Australia.) And, thank you Arnold, he lists several links to Gambling with an Edge podcasts where these Hall of Famers have appeared, along with the titles of his favorite books and articles by each of these authors. And he talks of people who he thinks should be in the Blackjack Hall of Fame and are not for one reason or another.

Arnold Snyder will be a guest on Gambling with an Edge, discussing this book, on the episode that will be posted Thursday July 15. It is expected he will return for a follow-up visit on July 29.


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