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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Arena Football; Roulette odds; Unique Dempsey bio new at GBC

7 February 2008

A fresh variety pack of books with a little something for everyone has arrived at the Gambler's Book Shop this week.

Despite the end of the National Football League season, which ended with the upset Super Bowl, there's always room for more action to keep fans from feeling the letdown. Enter the newest member of the sports world and the Arena Football Workbook (23 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound) by RME Sports Investments pops up as a logical choice to help keep records of the 18 teams which begin play in March.

In this workbook, RME provides the 2007 results, spread and totals for each team, along with about a dozen trends you can watch for. This is accompanied by the team's web address and a summary of how the team did overall against the line -- at home, away and as a favorite or dog. Also in the book is a record of all the bowl events with scores since the beginning of Arena Football in 1987. Additionally, the work includes the final standings and playoff results for 2007.

Because this game is just beginning to take off, fans requested the league's rules. RME obliged and included these on one page, which should make the game more enjoyable and less complex for those who have questions.

Roulette enthusiasts who yearn for a new angle or a new approach to beating the game should salivate with the arrival of Catalin Barboianu's latest work Roulette Odds and Profits -- The Mathematics of Complex Bets (207 pages, paper bound, $23). Although a bit advanced in its presentation, the book does consider that some people may not be completely aware of the game and so provides an explanation of the basics, including the odds, the layout and house edge on all bets.

After the first 20 pages or so, Barboianu, a Romanian mathematician, gets rolling, with information about simple bets to complex bets to betting on a column and outside numbers, and on to betting on streets, corners, lines and on the opposite of the predominant color. He moves to splits of high-low numbers, first and third column and on black. Then, from page 161 to 202, he explains everything with mathematical formulas, text, charts and tables, on both the American and European wheel, repeated color, column, line, corner street, split and straight up bets.

Serious, advanced roulette players everywhere should react to this book as a cat does to catnip, purring and rolling over with joy. It would help if you're mathematically-inclined, and those who have been waiting for an unusual way to attack this centuries-old table game will find much to think about.

Boxing buffs, particularly those who can't get enough history of the sport or who are true Jack Dempsey buffs, will no doubt enjoy Guy Clifton's Dempsey in Nevada (182 pages, hardbound, $24.95).

Clifton, a third-generation Nevadan, is currently based in Reno, NV, and has been a sportswriter since 1982.

Dempsey was world heavyweight boxing champion from 1919 to 1926, during the "Roaring 20s" and like Babe Ruth in baseball, idolized and held in great esteem by many generations of sports fans.

In this illustrated and well-indexed "rags to riches" biography (Dempsey would lose a fortune in the 1929 stock market crash), you have the story of a man who had little, gained and lost a title and tried to rebuild his life again as a fighter and promoter. The spotlight is on Nevada for the most part, with young Dempsey growing up in Nevada. (Reno, Goldfield, Ely, Elko, even Las Vegas are among his journey points.) The book has color and dimension. What was the fight game like before 1930? How much did a boxer earn, how did the promoters operate, including "hyping" a fight to trigger controversy or publicity? Dempsey died in his New York apartment in 1983. He was 87. He had been married four times, tasted poverty and riches, but above all, gained the respect of million of boxing fans internationally. This is a book about a champion, in and out of the ring. It is well done.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com