Arnold Snyder's Big Book of Blackjack, Table of Contents
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Big Book of Blackjack, by Arnold Snyder
Table of Contents

Arnold Snyder's Big Book of Blackjack, Third Edition, Table of Contents
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Introduction: Blackjack: The War for the Money

Section I: The Mystery History

1 The Long, Slow Birth of the Most Popular Casino Card Game in the World

In the Beginning... Vingt Un

Before the Beginning. . . Quinze, Like Blackjack with Bluffing

If You Cut Quinze in Half . . . Still Bluffing

And as for Insurance . . .

But Before Quinze . . . Trente-Un, and a Sixteenth Century Card Sharp

The Bone Ace Connection . . . where the Ace Equals One or Eleven

Vingt-Un Makes a Splash in Europe

Players Like to Make Decisions

2 Blackjack in the Wild West, or How 21 Became Blackjack

House Rules Change the Game Forever

Let the Games Begin . . .

The First 21 Pro Was a Woman

The Cheaters Thrived

Canfield’s Prophecy

Twenty-One Becomes “Blackjack”

3 Ed Thorp Versus the World

The Real Story of Ed Thorp’s Attack on the Casinos

Julian Braun on “System Smitty”

Mickey MacDougall, the “Card Detective”

Thorp’s Wins and Losses in his 1962 Test of Ten-Count

John Scarne, “The World’s Foremost Expert on Gambling”

The Scarne/MacDougall Feud

Scarne Triumphs

Enter Edward Oakley Thorp . . .

Scarne to the Rescue!

The Downfall of John Scarne

Jacoby Claims the Credit!

Meanwhile, Back at the “World’s Foremost Gambling Expert”

The $100,000 Challenge

Scarne’s Mysterious WWII “Ten-Card Count” Pamphlet

4 Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

How Did It Get This Way?

More Mathematicians Get Involved

Beat the Dealer, Second Edition

The Griffin Agency is Born

Enter Lawrence Revere

The Birth of “Team Play” in the 1970s

Electronics Enter the Players’ Arsenal

How Do You Use a Concealed Blackjack Computer?

Enter Stanford Wong

Did Ken Uston Betray His Mentor?

5 Big Boom on the Boardwalk

The Cops versus the Robbers

Atlantic City, Here We Come!

The “Experiment”

The Party’s Over

Uston Continues His Media Hype

An Expert Goes Down the Tubes

The Inside Scoop on the Campione Case

The Atlantic City Casinos Fight for the Rights of the Stupid

6 Indians, Riverboats, Lawsuits and Loot

The Michigan Indians Lead the Way

The Feds Put the Law on the Indians Side

The Indian Casino Expansion Begins

Bye-Bye Welfare, Hello, Wealth!

The Danger of Crooked Games

The Cowboys Challenge the Indians

Fast Fun in Phoenix

But More Casinos Open in Other States

The Wackiness in Windsor: Hyland’s Team Arrested

Options, Options, Options

As the Industry Grew, so Did the Opportunities to Exploit It

The New Game Protectors

Section II: The Game, The Rules, The Strategies

7 Playing the Game

The Basic Structure and Object of the Game

“Hard” Hands and “Soft” Hands

Playing the Hands

Card Handling Etiquette


Hitting and Standing


Doubling Down

Splitting, Resplitting, and Doubling After Splits


No Hole Card


The Dealer’s Hand

Uncommon Rules, Bonuses, and Side-Bets

8 Playing the Game Right

The Basic Strategy

Why Basic Strategy Works . . . The “Odds”

What is a Half-Percent Advantage in Dollars and Cents?

How Basic Strategy Works . . . The Logic

The False Logic

Basic Strategy for Any Number of Decks

Using the Basic Strategy Chart

The Order of Decisions

How to Practice Basic Strategy

Simplified Basic Strategy

Insurance? Never! (Well . . . Maybe Sometimes . . .)

The Cost of Errors

The Costliest Common Mistake

9 The Odd Truth about “Even Money”

The Value of a Blackjack

When the Dealer Has a 10 Up

When the Dealer Has an Ace Up

How the Casino Thinks of Even Money

How the Professional Player Thinks of Even Money

How Should You Think of Even Money?

A True Story

But Not All Mathematicians Are Dumb!

10 Meet the Cards

Meet the Ace, the Player’s Strongest Ally

When the Dealer Shows an Ace

What the Ace Means to the Player’s Hand

A Brief History of Aces

Meet the 10, the Most Important Denomination

Meet the 9, 8, and 7, the Invisible Cards

Meet the 6, 5, and 4—the Cards from Hell

Meet the 3 and 2—the Trouble Cards

11 How to Count Cards

The Red Seven Count

How to Practice Counting Cards

The World’s Fastest Card Counter

Setting Your Starting Count for Casino Play

The Red Seven Betting Strategy

Beating the Multiple-Deck Games

The “Trip” Bankroll

The “Total” Bankroll

The Red Seven Playing Strategy

Table Conditions

Keep It Simple

12 Rules, Rules, Rules, and More Rules

So Why All the New Rules?

The Number of Decks in Play

The Soft 17 Rule

Doubling Down

The Pair-Split Variations


The General Rule on Rules

The Good Rules

The Great Rules

The Alton Belle Massacre

The Double Down Dilemma
The Bad Rules

The Miserable Rules

The Non-Basic Rules


The I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Blackjack Games

13 How to Beat “Over/Under 13”

A Brief History of Over/Under

Some Sample Hands:

The Over Count Values

14 How to Beat “Royal Match”

A Bit of History

But You Don’t Need to Count the Four Suits

The Simple Royal Match System

What’s It Worth?

Nevada Casinos with One-Deck Royal Match Games

15 How to Beat “Super Sevens”

Super Sevens Payout Schedule

16 How to Beat “Lucky Ladies”

Lucky Ladies Two-Deck Pay Table

Lucky Ladies Six-Deck Pay Table

What’s it Worth?

A Word About Those Damnable Flux

Beware of the Big-Flux Bankroll Eaters!

17 How to Beat “Spanish 21”

The Big Trick

Simplified Spanish 21 Basic Strategy

The Full Strategy

So How Do You Beat Spanish 21?

18 How to Beat “Super Fun 21”

The Big Trick

Super Fun 21 Basic Strategy (Compared to the Traditional Game)

Beating Super Fun 21 with the Red Seven Count

Who Invented Super Fun 21?

19 How to Beat “Double Exposure”

The Big Trick

The Basic Theory

The Simplified Basic Strategy

The Red Seven Betting Strategy

The Red Seven Playing Strategy

Some Basic Strategy Practice Hands

The Double Exposure Quiz

Who Invented Double Exposure?

20 How to Beat “Blackjack Switch”

The Gimmick

The Big Trick

The Rules of the Game

The Switch

Defining the Dealer’s Upcard

Defining the Player’s Hands with the WLPC System

Some Sample Hands

The Two-Hand Set Power Ratings

When Switching Does Not Change the Power Rating

When to Switch a Chance/Chance for Another Chance/Chance

When to Switch a Loser/Loser for Another Loser/Loser

When to Switch a Winner/Winner for Another Winner/Winner

When to Switch a Winner/Chance for Another Winner/Chance

The Rules on Switching Blackjacks

Blackjack Switch Quiz

The Blackjack Switch Basic Strategy

Beating Blackjack Switch with the Red Seven Count

21 How to Beat Those Weird California Games

No House Bank

How Much Does That Commission Cost?

Target = 22

No Bust

Wild Cards

Dealer’s Options

How Can the Average Player Beat the California Games?

Section III: Having Fun in a Combat Zone

22 Like It or Not, You Are the Enemy

Play versus Work, Us versus Them

The Field of Battle

The Customer is Always Suspect

A Glossary of Surveillance Terms (with thanks to Cellini)





Peek Freaks





Average Annual Salaries for Las Vegas Strip Casino Personnel

Know Your Enemy: The Dealer

Know Your Enemy: The Floor Person

Know Your Enemy: The Pit Boss

Know Your Enemy: The Shift Boss

Know Your Enemy: The Casino Manager

Know Your Enemy: The Surveillance Agent

Know Your Enemy: The Security Guard

23 Winning is Dangerous

Story #1

Story #2

The Moral

Survival Tips

How to Rat-Hole Chips

“Barred” versus “Backed Off”

But Isn’t Barring Illegal Discrimination?

24 Cheating? At Blackjack?

Blackjack’s Sordid Past

Why Cheat?

What Will it Cost You?

Payout “Errors”

Three Simple Rules To Avoid Payout Errors

Cheating in Single-Deck Games

Dealing Seconds

Four Simple Rules To Avoid Seconds Dealers

Stacking a Blackjack

Three Simple Rules To Avoid Blackjack Stackers

Marked Cards

Other Peeking Scams

Preferential Shuffling

Three Simple Steps To Avoid Preferential Shuffles

Cheating in Multi-Deck Shoe Games

The Short Shoe

My Experience with Short Shoes

Two Simple Rules To Avoid Being Short-Shoed

Cutting the High Cards Out of Play

What If the Dealer Cheats to Help You?

What If You Suspect You’ve Been Cheated?

25 The Eye in the Sky

The Important Things to Know About Surveillance

Should You Be a Refusal? The Pros and the Cons

Should You Get a Player’s Card? The Pros and the Cons

Four Tips to Keep the Eye From Identifying You As a Pro

26 Team Play

Why Form a Blackjack Team?

Why Not Form a Blackjack Team?

Guidelines for Forming a Team

27 Hole Cards, Devices, Shuffle Tracking, and Nevada-Style “Justice”

Hole Card Play: Warps, Front Loaders, Spooks

The Peek Freaks Win in a Nevada Court

But “Video Front Loading” Gets the Shaft

The Anti-Device Law is Tried and Found . . . Vague

More Nevada Justice

“Tell” Play Tested in a Reno Courtroom

Shuffle Tracking

Section IV: Odds, Ends, and Other Weird Stuff

28 The Blackjack Hall of Fame

Julian Braun

Al Francesco

Peter Griffin

Tommy Hyland

Lawrence Revere

Max Rubin

Arnold Snyder

Keith Taft

Edward O. Thorp

Ken Uston

Stanford Wong

29 Twenty-One Questions

30 Poetry (with apologies...)

A Visit from St. Who?


The Charge of the Count Brigade

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Back Room

The Griffin


31 Blackjack Reality versus Blackjack Hype


Comprehensive Basic Blackjack Strategy

Spanish 21 Basic Strategy

Super Fun 21 Basic Strategy

Double Exposure Basic Strategy

Blackjack Switch Basic Strategy

Acknowledgments and References


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