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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

College Hoops Betting Angles Aplenty in Davler Guide; Love Poker? Try Stravinsky

31 December 2003

For more than a decade, Trends Made Easy College Basketball (115 pages, paperbound, 5x8 format, $27.95) books have offered bettors a chance to bet on an angle rather than searching for a number, analyzing statistics and examining power ratings. This year's edition has more than 700 plays arranged by either team or by the date games will be played. Here are a few examples, so you can decide if you like this simple, often fun way of handicapping. Let's take Illinois. The book shows that they are located in Campaign, Illinois, their home court is Assembly Hall which has a capacity of 16,833. Their coach is Bruce Weber. Last year the team went 25-7 straight up, 11-5 in their Big Ten contests, and the coach's career's record going into this season is 103-54. Their web site is also listed should you wish to go to the Internet for further information. There are seven betting opportunities listed for Illinois this season. One of them says to bet Illinois against Iowa when Illinois is home team. Since 1994 Illinois is 7-1 against the spread in this situation.

For some teams there may be only one angle, for others as many as seven or eight, with some angles verified back to the 1980s.

The book also allows you to look at the calendar and ask "how many angles are bettable on, let's say, January 17, a Saturday. You now move to the second section of the book and see there are 23 angles that busy date, including being advised to "Play on South Carolina when they meet Tennessee." (South Carolina has covered in 16 of 20 opportunities since 1992).

In short, this is a quick way to spot what appears to be a positive betting situation based on past history. There is no rationale or reasoning for these spot plays‹I wish there were, it would make the book 100% better, but since coaches, recruiting, conferences and players change annually, it may be an impossible task.

This is the book's 13th annual edition. It is keyed to conference play only and ends with games played in March 2004.

John Stravinsky has a wonderful compilation of stories culled from 39 other resources‹but all dealing with one subject‹poker and the love of the game. Titled Read 'em and Weep (235 pages, hardbound, $19.95), it is subtitled A Bedside Poker Companion.

Among the pieces Stravinsky received permission to except are Deadwood by Pete Dexter; Poker Faces by David Hayano; The Things Poker Teaches by David Mamet; W. Somerset Maugham's Straight Flush; John Updike's A Poker Night, and The Toughest Poker Player in the World by Chris Calhoun. There are pieces by Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, James Thurber, James Jones, Nelson Algren, Peter Alson and Barbara Tuchman as well.

These are stories, many true, others fictional, about how people view the game of poker‹their experiences, their love of the game, how they see the game‹how it affected their lives, honed their decision-making skills, made them appreciate life more as they began to understand their own strengths and weaknesses‹their ability to bluff, to be deceptive, to be brave under fire.

Courtesy of Stravinksy, you get a sort of 200-year literary tour of poker, from the days of Mississippi riverboat action to the modern poker rooms of Las Vegas.

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