Arnold Snyder’s BLOCKCHAIN NATION

A Science-Fiction Horror Comedy?

Or … Is It the World We Live In?

Blockchain Nation is so unlike anything else I’ve written that I asked my friend and editor at Huntington Press (Deke) if he would read it and give me an opinion. I wasn’t submitting it to HP for publication because it had nothing to do with Las Vegas or gambling. I just wanted a book industry pro to tell me what he thought of it.

A week later, Deke told me he thought it was the best thing I’d ever written, but “there isn’t a publisher on the planet that would touch it with a ten-foot pole.”  It didn’t surprise me. Publishers prefer manuscripts that fit into any of a dozen common genres, like science fiction, romance, western, mystery, etc.

Blockchain Nation could be classified as sci-fi or horror, but it had three characteristics that didn’t fit the standard formulas for those genres. First, it was sexually explicit. Second, it was politically incorrect. Third, it was too funny to be taken seriously as anything other than a satire of whatever genre it was reaching for.

The Story:

Ten years after the crypto-concussion devices had opened the doors to the parallel universes, Wally Denton was still trying to find a universe with rules he could tolerate. He’d never thought of himself as a rebel. But dodging the fouchies, the bugs, the billies, and the squealers as they chased him from universe to universe, where every runhole he fell into had ever more repressive rules and brainwashed followers, was quickly radicalizing him.

He’d had no run-ins with the Blockchain authorities until the Sovereign Brain outlawed glopping the playground. He couldn’t help it if he was addicted to prayer. Nor could he understand why they would pass laws against normal everyday activities. He tried to explain to the stompers that he was a nilly, even identified as a nilly on his slaver’s license. Didn’t nillies’ lives matter?

They threatened him with Kansas. That terrified him. There was no coming back from Kansas. Was there no way out?  All he wanted was to escape the reach of the universally-feared Interblockchain Brilliance Authority.

Blockchain Nation is a novel for adults. It deals with adult themes and many scenes might be disturbing to some people.

Blockchain Nation is available at Amazon as a 240-page paperback for $16.95, or in ebook (Kindle) format for $2.99.

You can read the first two chapters of Blockchain Nation by clicking FREE PREVIEW below.

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Radical Blackjack — The Blackjack Book I Always Wanted to Write

by Arnold Snyder

With Vegas locked down for the past year, I needed something to do. My career as an adult entertainment critic on my ToplessVegas blog had come to an abrupt halt. So, I decided to write another blackjack book.

I had made my living for more than 25 years from blackjack, primarily by writing about it, but also by playing the game to formulate and test theories, while making money in the process.  But I haven’t written a book about blackjack since The Big Book of Blackjack, which was published in 2006.

Technically, a good portion of Radical Blackjack was written almost ten years ago and it was even offered for sale on Amazon in 2013. But I decided to hold off on publishing it, partly because I felt some of the material was too sensitive, and partly because I needed to do a lot of analyses on the rebate material and I didn’t have access to the software I needed to do it.

Radical Blackjack contains a lot of my personal gambling secrets, plus secrets I learned from other pro gamblers. The version of this book that was almost published in 2013 was a much different book from this 2021 version. In fact, the prior unpublished manuscript was a lot less radical. In that version, I used pseudonyms for most of the characters—many of whom are well-known pro players, authors, and experts in the Blackjack Hall of Fame. I was also very careful in that 2013 version of this book not to reveal too much about the actual plays and strategies, many of which had never been published, or at least, not in any great detail. I did write in detail about my own discoveries and experiences, especially with regards to shuffle tracking, loss rebate plays, and online gambling, But I left a lot of details out on plays I was involved in, but had mostly learned from other pros.

But my Huntington Press publisher and longtime friend, Anthony Curtis, encouraged me to go ahead and use the real names of the characters in the stories I told because it would make the book better. He said we could just run everything by those whose names were revealed to make sure we weren’t stepping on anybody’s toes. So, I started changing pseudonyms to real names, and once I started doing that, I figured what the hell, since we’re going to run the whole thing by these guys anyway, I might as well tell a whole lot more of the story, since they would be offered the right to veto anything about them or their strategies they didn’t want in print.

It didn’t surprise me that some players wanted to remain anonymous, requesting pseudonyms. So, you will find some unrecognizable names in this book. But what really surprised me was that the players who were vetting this book requested very few cuts regarding the details of the tactics and strategies that we used, many of which have never been exposed in print. So, Radical Blackjack should prove to be one hell of a revelation for many serious students of the game.

Rather than attempt to describe the contents of Radical Blackjack, I’ll just post a version of the Table of Contents here. I put this together by listing the chapter titles, headings and subheadings. Information on purchasing the book follows this list.

1 Shuffle Tracking

Does Shuffle Tracking Work in Today’s Casinos?
What Is Shuffle Tracking?
Shuffle-Hopping at the Calgary Stampede
One Good Slug
Hammering the Lakeside Inn
Playing for the Camera at the Atlantis in Reno
Outrageous Favors at John Ascuaga’s Nugget
Winning Big and Getting the Boot at Palace Station
Tracking with the Dealer’s Help at the Tropicana in Atlantic City
Dodging the Cutoff Plugs at Paris
Going South
Short-Shoed at a Sawdust Joint

2 Radical Camouflage

Beating High-Tech Surveillance
The Griffin Snitches
Hot Game Reports
Ambush Warning for the Greeks
Cellini: The Ultimate Double Agent
Back to Beating Blackjack Survey Voice
The Insurance Flaw in the Survey Voice Software
The Double-Down Flaw in the Survey Voice Software
Keep Track of Your Camo Costs
Will These Techniques Work Today?

3 Playing with a Partner

Pillaging Aladdin’s London Club
Enter the Rainbow People
Playing Multiple Simultaneous Hands
Using a Partner to Explain Your Nutty Logic
Radical Misplay Camouflage
Let’s Change the Order of the Cards

4 Milking Loss Rebates

The Legend of Don Johnson
The $140,000 Shoe
The Insane Super Bowl Comp
The Comp to Beat All Comps
How to Win by Losing
Rebate Theory (Oversimplified)
Overall Value of Loss Rebates to a Winning Player
The Camouflage Value of Loss Rebates
The Best Rebate Strategy to Maximize Dollar Wins
The Time Factor
The Terrible’s Loss Rebate for Low-Rollers
The Aladdin Rebate Deal
The MGM Grand’s Loss Rebate
The Real World Chart
The Paris Casino’s Two-Tier Loss Rebate
Like Tarzan Swinging from Vine to Vine
Bet-Sizing and Bankroll Requirements for Loss-Rebate Games
Getting a Rebate on a Win at Stratosphere
Loss Rebates at Other Games for Low(er) Rollers

5 Playing on Other People’s Money

Max Sends Me to Play the Tribal Casinos in California
“Mr. F” Backs Me to Attack the Big Rebate Games
The Blackjack Forum Dream Team
Avery Cardoza Backs Me in WSOP Tournaments

6 Hole-Card Play

Illegal Hole Card Strategies
Obsolete Hole-Card Strategies Worth Knowing About
Spooking
Tell Play
Einbinder and Dalben
Steve Forte’s Last Big Play
Playing Warps
Steering Strategies
Legal and Still Viable Hole-card Strategies
Can Hole Carding Be Learned?
“The Turn”—a Legal Hole-Card and Steering Strategy
A Bit of History
Tips on the Turn
Is the Turn Legal at Blackjack?
The Easiest Hole-Card Play of All

7 Beating the Online Casinos

A Better Kind of Loss Rebate Play

8 Off-the-Wall Outtakes, Tangents, and Gossip

How Jesse Morgan Became James Grosjean
Everyone Knows Munchkin
How Henry Tamburin Saved Tommy Hyland’s Teammates from Prison
Whatever Happened to Keith Taft’s Computer Shoes?
Jack Newton’s Story About a Big-Money Roulette Play
Why Revere Tricked His Students into Returning for More Lessons
Wheelin’ and Dealin’ with Ken Uston
The Night Al Francesco Showed Up at My Apartment
Stanford Wong’s Secret Advantage Play on Lodging in Vegas
An Unauthorized Review by Peter Griffin
Bill Benter’s Book Gets Trashed on Amazon
My Dinner with Julian Braun
The Mysterious Ian Andersen
Bob Loeb and the FBI
and more.

List price: $39.95, now available on a prepublication sale for $29.96 if purchased direct through the publisher here.

My shuffle-tracking partner and wife, Radar O’Reilly, and I did an interview with John Reeder about the experiences I cover in the book.  You can find it here on his website or here on Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-are-the-odds/id1527018692?i=1000538389104

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Smut4Nerds: Dirty Books on My Terms

Arnold Snyder's Pink Wedge

by Arnold Snyder

My professional writing career began in 1972 when Greenleaf Classics, a big-time smut publisher, rejected a crazy sex story I’d submitted but put me in contact with an agent who provided me with Greenleaf’s formula sheets, which described the stories the editors would accept.

Unlike the manuscript I’d submitted, the accepted formulas were humorless, predictable, and repetitious, with little wiggle room for creative fun. But although commercial smut wasn’t artistically rewarding, it paid well. My wife and I could churn out a 40,000-word manuscript in a week and it paid $510 (after our agent took his 15% off the top). That was decent pay for a week’s work in the early 70s, especially considering the loose working conditions. For perspective: Our two-bedroom apartment in Berkeley was $190/mo.

I have no way of measuring what our hourly pay might have been. How do you measure your work hours when both of you are working all day, every day, until you finish cranking out the required word count? But during this time you are laying around in your underwear with the radio tuned to jazz or acid rock, chain-drinking coffee, chain smoking, taking breaks to get high and ponder the universe, yakking about who knows what, and f*cking like crazy?

There was a fun factor to writing smut together, even horrible, trite, repetitious smut . . .   I wrote about this period of my life in “The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript.”  Continue reading Smut4Nerds: Dirty Books on My Terms

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When the Wolfbane Blooms

Another Smut4Nerds Story by Arnold Snyder

To Dustin Cathcart, werewolves weren’t just another Hollywood fiction. Werewolves were his business.

As founder and CEO of Lupine Solutions, LLC, he had access to a database of more than 1300 werewolves nationwide, available to him for any and all werewolf needs. He could provide bona fide werewolf services to individuals, small businesses, and major corporations.

Using the formulas developed by internationally-acclaimed lupinologist Dr. Dolphus Vanschtubenbergh, Dustin could now transform any man, woman, or child into a werewolf, without so much as a full moon.

The only problem—he couldn’t think of a damn thing anyone could possibly use a werewolf for. They were clumsy, rude, antisocial, and they smelled bad. They wouldn’t obey orders, they sometimes ate people’s pets, and on occasion developed a taste for human flesh.

But Dustin wasn’t going to let those impediments get in the way of business, especially not after he joined forces with Bridget Baskervilles, who was not only a con artist extraordinaire, but the sexiest babe in Strait City.

When the Wolfbane Blooms is the story of a nice midwestern boy who teams up with a nice midwestern girl to foster his lifelong dream of a world populated by nice midwestern werewolves.

If you want to read the first chapter of When the Wolfbane Blooms for free, click here.

If you want to buy When the Wolfbane Blooms on Amazon (a thoughtful gift if you have a friend with a perverse sense of humor), click here.

See also other Smut4Nerds classics: Pink Wedge, here,
and Transplant, here.

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Transplant

Another Smut4Nerds Classic

He was a plant trapped in a man’s body.

She was a woman trapped in a plant’s body.

Theirs was a love like the world had never known.

They called themselves transplants and for years they suffered in silence. But with a courage hitherto unseen in the annals of botany, they rose up to demand their rights.

Transplant is a story of love and betrayal, heroism and photosynthesis, the story of tomorrow’s headlines today.

If you want to read the first chapter of Transplant for free, click here.

To purchase Transplant at Amazon, 2.99/Kindle or 8.99 paperback (a thoughtful gift if you have a friend with a perverse sense of humor), click here.

See also: When the Wolfbane Blooms, yet another Smut4Nerds Classic, here.

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Andy Clausen’s “Beat: A First-Hand Account of the Latter Days of the Beat Generation”

Reviewed by Arnold Snyder

This book is a collection of stories about the poets and writers we now think of as the beats — Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Micheline, Peter Orlovsky, Diane DiPrima, Anne Waldman, Ray Bremser, Bob Kaufman, Harold Norse, Philip Whalen, William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and many others.

Clausen was not there in the 1950s heyday of the beats when most of these characters were labeled the “beat generation” by media struggling to understand them. But in the 60s and 70s, he got to know them all, hung out with them, did poetry readings with them and was accepted and respected by them as one of them. Ginsberg became his mentor and Corso became one of his close friends.

This is a fun book to read. Clausen describes what to expect from it early on:

I will try and keep you awake with stories of the latter-day Beats and they might pop up out of sequence, rolling out of my mind like a film edited by Dziga Vertov, dreams, subplots, asides, but all of it the way I saw and heard it. You’ll get to know me and you can decide how accurate I am . . . Sometimes I’ve paraphrased or approximated, but when you read this you will hear it like it was yesterday.

I heard Clausen read his poetry hundreds of times in the 1970s, and his voice and style come through beautifully in this rambling memoir, which comes off more as poetry than prose. It’s not a chronological retelling of his experiences with these characters, but a series of anecdotes that progress by theme.

I’ve mentioned in other reviews on this site that one of the reasons I like both Henry Miller’s and Charles Bukowski’s prose is that you can open any of their books anywhere and just start reading and they capture you. Clausen’s writing is the same. Here’s how he describes the scene where a small group of poets are gathered in San Francisco before attending a reading by Ginsberg:

Out of the cracked for air kitchen window, one could hear the big bassoon boats and oboe tugs, big notes expanding, shaking the potato fog as Karl Malden’s 400-horse interceptor engine roars hopping an asphalt mogul and the eye-poultice crisp blue drinkability of the Hamm’s Beer sign, hear the tom-toms, ‘from the land of sky blue waters, Hamm’s the beer refreshing, Hamm’s Beer,’ and the Chinese sounds like Mozart midst Slavic proverbs as new money staggers into dark limos and Spanglish and Calexico blasts from boombox sidewalks dancing and wall shaking low riders with the streetside boo wafting and David Moe wants us all to stop our attempts at humor and parsing of the day’s news and listen to his new poem.

In the 1970s when Andy was a regular at the poetry readings in Berkeley and San Francisco, he introduced me to Jack Micheline one night at the Coffee Gallery in San Francisco. He’d named his son “Cassidy,” after beat legend Neal Cassady. Allen Ginsberg said the first time he saw Andy read he felt he was seeing a young Neal Cassady.

I used to haunt the poetry readings in the Bay area to do comedy that was tolerated, more or less, by the poetry crowd. Andy read hundreds of times at the Starry Plough Irish Pub and La Salamandra in Berkeley, but also at the Coffee Gallery and Minnie’s Can Do Club in San Francisco and other local poets hangouts. Andy’s style was loud and boisterous. He was prolific. I don’t think I ever saw him read the same poem twice.

He was a working man, a hard-drinking hod carrier and strong as an ox. He used to brag about how many one-armed push-ups he could do and I saw him demonstrate this talent on many a barroom floor.

Clausen lived his life for poetry and was as deeply connected to the beat poets as anyone alive. Ginsberg and Gregory Corso praised him, traveled with him, invited him to do readings with them. Yet, Clausen has remained relatively unknown. If you go to the Poetry Foundation website that lists thousands of poets, Clausen’s name is not there. If you go to poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets, you won’t find any mention of Andy Clausen. Andy is well-known in the poetry underground, but virtually unknown in the world at large.

The fact is Andy is too blue collar, too crude, too rough, too real to be recognized by the academics that decide which poets and writers are worthy of fame. Ginsberg was better educated, more erudite, more sophisticated, more worthy. Clausen is more like Bukowski, who never got much praise from academia.

Now, because of the stories Andy tells in this book of his travels and adventures with Ginsberg and Corso, I see Andy is starting to be recognized.

Here’s a chance to read the last of the beat poets. Also, if you live on the East Coast, Andy lives in Woodstock and still reads frequently in the New York/New Jersey area. Watch for him in a neighborhood bar near you.

Anne Waldman said: “The poems soar and rage but ultimately reside in empathy . . . Clausen’s oeurvre is a reminder that poetry comes from the street and struggle.”

Gregory Corso said: “That’s why I’m reading with Andy. He’s coming to the fore after living it for years.”

Allen Ginsberg said: “I have long admired his writing; of all the poets younger than my own generation in the U.S.A., he has for a long time seemed the most penetrant and clear and inventive and free.”

Beat: A First-Hand Account of the Latter Days of the Beat Generation is illustrated with line drawings by Michael Wojczuk, who was also a poet in the Berkeley crowd back then. There are also numerous photos of Andy and the beat poets, plus reproductions of posters for poetry readings, mostly from the 1970s and 80s.

Any aficionado of the beat poets would love this book. Andy’s stories introduce you to these guys in such a personal way that they become real and human, with all of their faults and foibles and unique worldviews.

Ppb, 210 pages. You can purchase this book for $17.95 from Amazon.

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Charles Bukowski’s Hollywood: Hank Gets Happy

[This review first published 15 Feb 2013.]

hollywoodHollywood is the last installment of Bukowski’s autobiographical Henry Chinaski series. It’s the thinly-disguised story of the making of the 1987 movie, Barfly, which starred Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. The Chinaski of Hollywood is a radical departure from the Henry Chinaski of the earlier novels. In Hollywood, Hank is prosperous and content, doing what he wants, living in a comfortable house with his wife, whom he calls “my good Sarah,” driving a new BMW. Henry has it made. Continue reading Charles Bukowski’s Hollywood: Hank Gets Happy

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Charles Bukowski’s Pulp: A Drink to Victory

[This review initially posted on 8 Feb 2013.]

Pulp by Charles BukowskiPulp is the only one of Charles Bukowski’s novels that’s not written from the perspective of Bukowski’s alter ego, Henry Chinaski. After all the agonized and hilarious autobiographical accounts of pain, frustration, poor health and madness of his earlier novels, the great man had at last come to a subject too enormous and painful to deal with directly.

Pulp was Bukowski’s last novel, published in 1994, the same year he died of leukemia at the age of 73. As he was writing this book, he knew his days were numbered. Continue reading Charles Bukowski’s Pulp: A Drink to Victory

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The Assault on Tony’s by John O’Brien – An Alcoholic’s View of Armageddon

[This review intially posted on 18 Jan 2012.]

The Assault on Tony's by John O'BrienOkay, here’s the premise of John O’Brien’s The Assault on Tony’s.

A handful of rich Republican alcoholics stop in at their favorite bar near the country club to ride out a riot. They all arrive at the bar with a couple of weapons—a Glock, a Walther, a couple of Dirty Harry .44 Magnums, a Beretta 92F. Apparently they’re always packing, but now they’re packing double and thank goodness, because the riot soon turns into Armageddon. Continue reading The Assault on Tony’s by John O’Brien – An Alcoholic’s View of Armageddon

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Jack Black’s You Can’t Win: On the Vagabond Life

[This review initially posted on7 Dec 2012.]

You Can't Win by Jack BlackYou Can’t Win by Jack Black is a memoir of life among the “yeggs,” an American subculture that existed for decades in the early twentieth century, with tens of thousands of members pretty well hidden from the society at large. Today, the slang term “yegg” has become synonymous with “safe cracker.” A hundred years ago, yeggs were vagabonds who traveled by hopping freights, convened in the hobo jungles that sprang up on the outskirts of towns that had railroad yards, and lived primarily by committing small-time theft. Continue reading Jack Black’s You Can’t Win: On the Vagabond Life

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