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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Clarke's Vegas confidential packed with 'sinsational' tales

11 December 2008

Norm Clarke, gossip columnist extraordinaire, whose work appears daily in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has written his best book yet -- Vegas Confidential: Sinsational Celebrity Tales (232 pages, paperbound, $15.95). Colorful, packed with photos of celebrities, wannabe stars and those who don't shy away from cameras, Clarke's tome combines stories, gossip, goofy episodes and backstage antics. Along the way he reveals how his network of contacts works.

Originally from Terry, Montana (population less than 500), near the North Dakota border, Clarke has been a traveler, from Cincinnati to California to Denver (where he won $50,000 in the Colorado lottery). He landed in Las Vegas nine years ago and quickly established a network of tipsters among hotel personnel including waitresses and bellhops. His trademark right eye patch came about as the result of a childhood injury.

Clarke admired the late great San Francisco columnist Herb Caen, who popularized "three-dot" journalism, which consists of snippets of information in quick, usually witty style. He uses that style in his acknowledgments but doesn't carry the dots through the remainder of the book.

Rock stars, athletes, TV personalities and celebrity egomaniacs all get Clarke's attention daily in the newspaper, and now forever in book form. The book is full of nice guys, chesty ladies, classy moves and down and dirty tricks the rich and famous sometimes try to pull. The photos, sometimes candid, sometimes posed, are a fan's dream, as the book is printed on heavy, glossy stock.

Overall, it's a fine compendium of fascinating people who too often let their hair down and get a little crazy in Las Vegas, where normality isn't expected.

Roy Cooke and John Bond have a new poker book titled How to Play Like a Pro (166 pages, paperbound, $19.95) covering much important territory for both beginners and solid pros.

There are four major sections to the book: Price, Reading Hands, Playmaking and Miscellaneous Topics.

Under Price, the authors discuss estimating value of a small pair, positive expectation, negative result, laying down a big pot, playing hands like Queen-Jack or Ace-Jack. Under Reading Hands, the authors analyze marginal starting hands and tell you how they played it in detail. Under Playmaking, the areas of position, extra value bets, limping middle pair versus overcards are among the areas covered.

The final section includes a look at playing confidently, taking a free one, increasing edge by observation. Overall, the book should help guide the player who has many a question about what to do in specific playing situations.
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