Dynamic Blackjack by Richard Reid

Dynamic Blackjack
(Dead link: http://www.extremebj.com)
reviewed by zengrifter

Dynamic Blackjack ('DBJ'), by Richard Reid, is the first real "e-book" that I have read, and that is one of the ways that DBJ promises to live up to its name. DBJ pledges to be a 'work-in-progress' with updates and revisions available instantly to those who purchase it once. The e-book format is very pleasing to the eye and mouse-click, and it adapted equally well to both my desktop and notebook - I have heard that it doesn't print well, but that wasn't a problem for me as I read it as intended on screen - a small gripe, the e-book didn't provide for the customary autograph that is typically included with the comp-review copies that I occaisionally receive.

As a BJ teaching text, DBJ is at once both condensed to a rather short read, and yet simultaneously covers a broader span of BJ applied expertise than any past or recent book that I can readily think of.

DBJ is the brainchild of Richard Reid, founder of the marvelous BJMath.com website that hosts discussions by BJ luminaries and novices, and contains a plethora of BJ resources ranging from free index generators and other tools to esoteric theorems and vintage historical documents. Reid has previously been the creative force behind one of the best BJ training programs - SmartCards, sold at his commercial site.

But does the world need yet another book on counting cards at BJ? Well despite my initial skepticism on the subject I actually learned a few things, principal among those is the difference between 'static-counting' and 'dynamic-counting' - no, I will not explain the difference here but I will say that I have found many of the 'top' counters to be terribly STATIC in their approach to the game and that explains why so many of them have trouble getting a decent game and suffer so much ejection.

System wise, one might expect that a be-speckled math-guy like Reid would needlessly burden DBJ with excess math and hundreds of pages of so-called "optimized-betting" charts of dubious-questionable worth (as in the unfortunate case of the new and somewhat over-priced THopper series). Reid advocates both 'generic' basic-strategy and a simple 21 index-matrix - his 4D indices are IMHO good for any #decks, though he does provides index-sets for 1-8Ds. His 'EBJ-II system is a balanced level-2 Ace-reckoned count that has not previously been published and ranks beyond either ZEN or RPC when it comes to raw betting efficiency.

On the oft-debated Ace sidecounting, Reid offers a new 'secondary-count' approach that is marvelous in its simplicity, for insurance and close play accuracy only (11v9 for example).

Despite its study-course beginner-to-expert format, DBJ offers some fresh material not to be found in the other recent 'me too' entries to counting application and science - his shuffle-tracking chapter is very likely the BEST of its genre, simplifying the path previously laid out by Snyder's Blackbelt and GeoC's ST For Dummies.

It is Reid's chapter on 'Betting Structure' where he distinguishes himself with original-new (for this reviewer) tactics that cement the book's theme of playing 'dynamically' - "multi-tiered" betting is a unique camouflage method that I have never seen discussed among the BJ web-discussion boards - it is both simple yet diabolical in its potential for hiding your skill from the house.

DBJ is topped off with excellent guidelines for trip and play preparation, recording results, and analysis-formulae for gaining insight into one's results, application and mastery (or a teammate's honesty, perhaps).

I will end this review by noting that Reid is missing the boat in one area - DBJ's e-book format would lend itself perfectly to being integrated with the author's SmartCards software training system - DBJ I believe could make the perfect course-material module to that otherwise brilliant drills-suite - though the two products are not yet integrated, they make a marvelous 1-2 punch for any budding novice-counter.

zengrifter's rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the review, zg. Does the material on shuffle-tracking contain anything new, or is it just a synthesis of previous work?
i would say 'synthisis' - he does reintroduce the simplified cut-off tracking (COT) and 'bestHalf' techqs that I'm capable of and advocate (although the shuffles that are susceptiple to simpleCOT are relatively scarce, when you know how to recognize and exploit one it makes for an exceptional shoe game) - he has simplified ST, including terminology, to an essential "i18" of the art and combined it with photos that make the basics easier to grasp than does Blackbelt or GeoC. Perhaps it is the ST treatment that makes the book worth the hefty price of $50 (I think its a high price w/o the SmartCards integration, but I may be out of touch since I rarely purchase BJ books and accessories). zg