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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Iskoe's College Football Study; New Caro and Capelletti Title Moving Well at GBC

20 August 2003

Andy Iskoe's College Football book (142 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $29.95) and the new collaboration by Mike Caro and Mike Cappelletti titled Poker at the Millennium (Hold 'em and Omaha) (363 pages, paperbound, $19.95) have arrived at the Gambler's Book Shop (Gambler's Book Club).

Iskoe lists more than 100 teams in his volume, which looks at how teams performed in more than two dozen categories for each of the last six years; for the last three years overall or the last six years overall. For example, if you were testing to see how often Notre Dame was a home underdog since 1997 and how often they covered in that situation, you'd find it happened five times and in four of those situations, the Fighting Irish covered.

You can see how teams performed against the spread in situations such as road favorite or road dog; against non-conference teams at home or away; against quality teams; in opening games of the season or season final; in their first or last conference game; after scoring more than 30 points in their last game.

One of the most controversial areas of football betting, particularly the colleges, is whether to bet early or late. Is there "smart money" which comes in late and impacts the line? Are there "wise guys" who find an edge? Or is it all a 50-50 proposition, a coin toss on whether you should bet early or late? Iskoe's book examines teams impacted by "smart money moves" going back as far as 1990, season by season, from Air Force to Wyoming, and with the Ivy League teams included. You may also see the moves, year-by-year, analyzed by the "magnitude of move" since 1990, from 1 l/2 points to 9 l/2 points or more.

A final section explores Quality College Programs from 1993 to 2002, looking only at how teams did straight up, year-by-year, for the last three years, then the last six years. So we're looking at a study, which in effect says to us, which teams tend to repeat, or be consistent more than others in a variety of situations. It is up to the bettor--who is also the smart handicapper--to rationalize why this occurs, and learn how to integrate the factor in his handicapping methods in a well-balanced way.

Poker at the Millenium (Hold'em and Omaha) by Caro and Cappelletti covers much territory. Designed for beginners all the way through to advanced players (no one ever agrees on what's "new" and players who claims they know it all are just kidding themselves because there's always something new to learn‹from books, about observing players, or understanding ourselves and why we do certain things at the table).

I like this book. Not just because the authors dedicated it to me or thanked me helping bring poker literature out of the "dark ages" but because it's readable, interesting, packed with ideas, some of which illuminate certain key areas of playing and it is done better than others have done it. It's a book that makes you think‹to examine old theories or ideas and possibly modify them, as the game has changed, with a new generation of players‹of a faster moving, higher stakes era in which millions of dollars can change hands because of ego, poor timing or a misreading (of cards or an opponent's intentions). About 160 pages cover hold'em; the Omaha section begins on page 175 and goes to page 258, where the Omaha high-low section begins and goes to page 305. Later, the authors compare the games of hold'em to Omaha. The hold'em section explores the basics of the game; the importance of position; even compares hold'em to seven-card stud; how to defend your blinds; when to raise; flop types.

In the Omaha section, the authors give a brief summary of rules; compare the styles of being aggressive or being conservative; image control; and Cappelletti presents his point count system for Omaha high. For those who have the book Cappelletti on Omaha (blue cover in 8x11 manuscript format) -- which he has sold for years as has GBC--there is material in that book which is duplicated in this new work. However, this collaboration with Caro contains enough new material to justify the price without question.

Packed with charts, tables, important reminders and lessons, the new book presents excellent guidance on what to do before and after the flop in Omaha; drawing odds ("outs"); trapping; what to do on fourth and fifth streets.

The Omaha high low section discusses marginality; high-low odds; defending your blinds at high low; whether to stay or fold on fourth or fifth streets.

Winning consistently is not easy in any form of poker. It's a constant learning experience. Books help‹they bridge the gap between theory and reality. It's important to have a few surprises hidden from opponents. Surprises come in form of understanding human nature, a person's strengths and weaknesses‹not much different than what goes on in politics and big business.

By understanding ourselves, studying, building confidence, integrating new moves into our table strategy, we become more unpredictable, stronger in our ability to face opponents who are easier to "read" or to avoid their traps.

Life is like that. It imitates poker or vice versa. But it's more fun to win isn't it?

Caro and Cappelletti have now offered you new tools or weapons‹or "ploys" which always make the game more exciting. It's just a matter of reading, absorbing, synthesizing and applying. It's hard work to some, a labor of love to others. Read Poker at the Millennium, you'll like it.
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