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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Blue Ribbon Hoops, Gordon Blue Book Hot Stuff

11 October 2006


College basketball is just around the corner, and poker remains number one in the hearts and minds of millions -- so it¹s a perfect 1-2 punch when two terrific books arrive at Gambler¹s Book Shop the same week. The two hot titles are the 2006-07 edition of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook edited by Chris Dortch and staff (384 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $21.95) and Phil Gordon¹s Little Blue Book (379 pages, hardbound, $21).

The Blue Ribbon book remains the hottest seasonal hoops reference source for bettors, fans, coaches, players and sportscasters for more than two decades (originally compiled by Chris Wallace in the late 1970s). While it¹s every handicapper¹s dream, the book doesn¹t have any pointspread histories or betting angles. It¹s pure scouting and publishing of the strengths and weaknesses of college teams with predictions for the season along with information about who recruited best and who lost what key players.

Yet it¹s even more. Fresher than most college basketball magazines, it contains inside stuff that¹s based on interviews with coaches, and it provides a look at and a rating of front court, bench depth and the back court. You¹ll be able to evaluate how good the backup center is if the starter is hurt or suspended and to see the level of experience the returnees bring to the lineup.

This is a book to be used best during the first 10 games of the season -- before conference games begin. This is the time when line makers are weak or indecisive, and it¹s the time the book is at its best.

Schedules are included (recognize they are always subject to change because of television¹s whims and monetary offers) and scores for last year¹s games are listed for the predicted Top 25 teams.

The book¹s strength is getting to know players on an-almost personal level -- meaning you¹ll be able to get a feel for who¹s a leader, a spark plug off the bench, and who may blossom later in the season. Statistics may not be everything.

Again, buy this one early. You¹ll need a week or two to devour the material, to prepare your homework before the action begins among the hundreds of bettable teams (listed from Air Force to Youngstown State) and dozens of conferences. Remember too that selective note-taking is imperative. It¹s a long ³war² this college basketball betting, from November to March and the best way to win it is to have a plan that includes this annual.

Classy Phil Gordon, a world class player with charm, wit and skill, is out with his Little Blue Book (he also penned the Little Green Book), which the public was waiting for because he knows the game as well as anyone. Too, he knows which way the game of poker, hold¹em in particular is heading.

His valuable sections include Cash Games AND Tournament Play (he smartly addresses the different stages of play: Early, Middle, Late and Final Table); Sit and Gos; Satellites and Supersatellites. Nicely illustrated with many lessons, examples and analysis, it¹s a balanced, smooth-reading textbook, some of which is based on his experience. This balance of common sense, strategies, ploys and an honest appraisal of what was going through his mind when he made his moves adds strength to this powerful, positive pack of lessons.

One unique approach is to ³ improve at poker is not by finding answers. It is by finding questions,² says champion Chris Ferguson in the foreward. Gordon¹s book does just that.
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