Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder and Calculated Risk. October 2010 . Vol 11 . No. 10

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Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder

Review By Howard Berenbon

Blackbelt in Blackjack is a do-it-yourself guide to beating the casinos at twenty one (or blackjack). Snyder outlines several methods for winning with some good playing advice and insight on what the casinos really think about blackjack players (they want to be challenged). He says that people think they’ll win using a counting system but most will lose. Winning is possible, but only after hard work and perseverance.  

Filled with his sage advice on beating the casinos, you’ll find 19 chapters in 328 pages ($16.95 US) on everything you need to know about the game of blackjack and winning.  It starts with basic strategy and then on to a number of tried and true counting systems, betting strategies (very important), information on team playing and last but not least, a chapter of secrets that the professional players use to win.

Snyder’s advice will get you thinking. He says even though counting is illegal at most casinos, and when discovered they will be escorted out, banned or even be prosecuted, the casinos really want the publicity.  It attracts attention and brings people in to try the challenge.  However, Snyder says most people with or without a counting system will lose, unless they follow his advice.
So, with all this information, you may earn your blackbelt in blackjack, and then leave the table a winner, you just have to work at it.  And if you win after mastering some of these techniques, please take my advice and head over to the nearest lunch or dinner buffet and treat yourself and your friends and family to a feast they’ll never forget. HB

Taking a Calculated Risk or Just Gambling? Fantasy or Fiction?

By Dana Smith (for Howard Schwartz) - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas.

Ms. Smith is also the Senior Editor of Cardoza Publishing (an affiliate of GBC).

Suppose you decide to risk $100,000 at gambling. Would it be better for you to wager your wad on betting sports or investing in the stock market? The answer Elihu Feustel and George Howard give in their book, Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street, (280 pgs, $24.95), may surprise you. I would be hard pressed to find a book on the ins and outs, the how-to and the how-not-to of gambling at sports or stocks that is more intelligent or lucid.

The authors adeptly explain the concepts of trading and risk management in gambling, but they don’t stop short of the goal line: They investigate strategies for winning your bets on the NFL, WNBA, MLB, and NCAA football with mathematical formulas to guide you. Although I am math-challenged, I could still understand and follow their reasoning. Five sports betting models—black box, handicapper success, NFL point-based, WNBA efficiency-based, and baseball runs scored—are clearly outlined, followed by MLB conversions and NCAA football conversions analyses. Departing from academics and how-to advice, Feustel and Howard insert colorful and helpful personal experiences and newsworthy stories from the headlines in shaded boxes that do not distract readers from the flow of the dialogue.

 “Wall Street is tougher and nastier than sports betting” is the lead sentence in the section on stocks, titled “Stock Betting” rather than “investing.” Contrasting stocks and sports, stock market wagers have the advantage of a lower average house edge. But don’t let that fool you—sports wagers have two key advantages over betting stocks: real transparency and a lower level of opposition. It is far easier to find out everything you want to know about a team’s capabilities (stats are plastered all over the web, and sportscasters debate ad infinitum 24/7) than it is to discover the true colors of a large corporation (whose financials can easily be doctored). Therefore, the authors conclude, “If you are both mathematically inclined and motivated to learn, sports betting is likely far safer and more profitable.”

This book is a gem that I wholeheartedly recommend to people who want to rise above the crowd by taking intelligent risks in their life, whether at sports, stocks—or yes, even love and occupational choices.

Stephen Nover, author of Winning Fantasy Football (275 pgs, $14.95), has won a warehouseful of fantasy football championships, including several head-to-head titles in ESPN and Yahoo leagues. After claiming that fantasy football is the greatest thing that’s happened to pro football fans in the last ten years, the author moves right along to the seven basics of fantasy football—from assembling a league and choosing a commissioner to setting up a schedule and compiling scores—to different types of leagues, explaining each in detail (head-to-head, rotisserie, salary cap, and keeper).

Nover takes you through the how-to of drafting stars to build a winning team; improving your team through trades, pickups, and the waiver wire; and finding sleepers. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the playoffs, you still need to be flexible, he warns. Although you’d like to stick with the “studs and starters who got you that far, you almost always have to do some minor tweaking with your lineup.” Then he advises how to prepare for the playoffs using “contingency” thinking.

Ragging on himself, Nover admits that he used to play fantasy basketball, baseball and football, but gave up baseball when his girlfriend abruptly packed her bags and left after waiting too long for him to tear himself away from the computer. “It’s called getting a life,” he says. If you want to put more life into your football gaming, this book is a well of information with intelligently written advice and winning strategies.

These books are available at Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. You can order them at or phone the store at 1-800-522-1777 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. Opened in 1964, GBC is located at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, just a short drive from the Strip. View the store's complete line of books, CDs, videos and software at the web site.