Blackbelt in Blackjack — Introduction (excerpt)
With this expanded edition of Blackbelt in Blackjack, my goal is to make it the single best, and most comprehensive, book on card counting available. I will cover every important topic and concept, in order to provide an overview and a working knowledge of how to do it, how to get away with it, and how to advance from amateur to professional, if that’s your plan.
For most players, who are not looking for a professional career at the tables, this book should provide all the information you need to succeed as a card counter. You will learn how to count cards at the same level as the top pros, how to judge profitable games and avoid unbeatable ones, and how to disguise your skills from casino pit bosses and surveillance agents in order to take the money and keep the welcome mat out for your return. If your ultimate goal is to do this at high stakes, playing blackjack for a living and soaking the casinos for megabucks, then this book is your launching pad. You may use it as a guide to take your blackjack career as far as you want to go.
I have attempted to organize the material so that even if you consider yourself a rank beginner, you may start your education here. In the opening chapters, I assume that you do not even know the rules and procedures of how to play the game. You’ll find that I have followed this initial primer on the game with the simplest card counting system that can beat most games, and as you get deeper into the material, as increasingly advanced strategies are provided, I have attempted throughout to present explanations of not only how these strategies may be employed, but why they work, and which types of games they may be used in.
The difficulty of making money as a card counter isn’t in the arithmetic, but in the psychology. Some people are good actors; some are not. Some are adept at reading attitudes and manipulating people, and some aren’t. To make it as a card counter, you must often be friendly to dealers and pit bosses, while at the same time deceiving them into thinking you’re just another dumb gambler. Most card counters who experience any long-term success thrive on this exhilarating espionage-like aspect of the game. You must be part rogue and part charlatan. You must be cool under pressure. You must have enough money behind you to weather losing streaks without financial worry. You must thrill to beating the casinos at their own game. If you’re not in it for the fun, as much as for the money, you’ll never make it as a counter. Card counting is boring, once mastered. It’s work. Few who try card counting stick with it. It’s like most games—chess, tennis, even the stock market; many people “know how to play,” but only a few become masters.
One thing you must remember: Casinos don’t give money away; you have to take it. And contrary to appearances, casinos are holding onto their money with both fists. You’ve got to be slick to take them on for high stakes, and walk away with your shirt.
©2005 Arnold Snyder