In the Fall of 2017 one of our Counting Edge team members made a trip to Las Vegas. While playing blackjack at one of the popular casinos downtown we spotted none other than blackjack legend Arnold Snyder. At 71 years old, Snyder is still one of the familiar faces on the Las Vegas blackjack scene. He is the author of Blackbelt in Blackjack and Big Book of Blackjack, two books that every serious blackjack player should own.
We had the opportunity to ask Snyder about his playing experiences and also what he thinks about online blackjack. Here is a conversation with the blackjack legend Arnold Snyder.
CE: Thank you for taking time to talk to Counting Edge.
AS: I don’t do many interviews today. Most of the time its bullshit to get some publicity for a magazine or a website. I guess you just caught me at the right time.
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CE: We would like to start by asking you about your own career as a player. How has that been for you?
AS: I’ve lived a good life and blackjack has paid for most of it. Well, gambling, but blackjack in particular. I think I have done okay.
CE: You made it into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
AS: That’s an example of the kind of bullshit I was talking about. Being in the Hall of Fame is an honor to me and I appreciate it. But it’s what you do at the blackjack table that makes you a success, not having your name in a building somewhere on something that few people will ever see. I’m a good player. That’s all that matters.
CE: You’ve written many books about blackjack. One of our favorites is Blackbelt in Blackjack. How did that come about? Why did you write it?
AS: I wrote it for money (laughs). No, it was a book I thought could fill in some gaps that were missing in books on the game. Everybody that gets successful playing wants to write a book. My book was a little different than all the rest out there because I got into deck penetration, which a lot of people weren’t talking about at that time. I wrote about that in Blackjack Formula in 1980, I think.
AS: Crazy question. Card counting is legal. The courts have said so. It isn’t what the casino likes but the hell with them. A player has the right to use every advantage he can find to beat the game. That’s what I think.
Hyland was on trial in Canada. I was called as an expert witness. The whole thing was about whether or not using blackjack teams was legal.
CE: What are your feelings on online blackjack?
AS: It’s not for me, not really. But I think it’s a hell of a deal for others. There’s a lot of people around who don’t have the ability to go to a live casino and play, you know? If I was younger, maybe. Probably. I think it’s going to be big.
CE: With online blackjack getting more popular do you think the importance of counting cards is less today than it was in your era?
AS: In my era? (laughs). We’re still in my era. I still play, I still count, I still make money. Yes, it is still important even though I know you can’t really do it online unless they are using a live dealer. Then you could.
CE: Is there any advice you would give to new blackjack players?
AS: I would probably say stick to the online play and just enjoy the game. Card counting is good but be prepared to spend a lot of time learning how to do it well. You also need to really master the basics. Strategy and money management.
CE: Thank you for your time, sir.
AS: No problem.