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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

'Pick'Em Poker Guide' by Dancer, Iskoe's 'NFL Analysis,' 'Black Book' All Helpful

27 August 2003

Bob Dancer and Liam Daily's long-awaited "A Winner's Guide to Pick'Em Poker" (55 pages, paperbound, $10); Andy Iskoe's "NFL Teams & Situations" (145 pages, spiralbound, $29.95) and Marc Lawrence's "Black Book (A Guide to Picking College and Pro Football Winners)" (107 pages, paperbound, $29.95) each have a special role in helping create smarter gamblers and each have arrived at Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas this week.

The "Pick'Em Poker" book should get people in Atlantic City busy, since the game's theoretical return is 99.95 percent and there are more of this type of video machine there than in Nevada. The book describes the game as one that is "unlike any other game of video poker. In normal games of video poker you are dealt five cards and you can hold any or all of them. Those that you discard are replaced from the remaining pack of 47 cards. In Pick'Em Poker, you see only four cards. There are two cards on the left that are 'fixed' -- you have no choice but to keep these two cards. Your choice is always between the two cards on the right."

The book explains basic strategy, offers examples, moves to advanced strategies (including tables) and contains practice sessions. The strength of the book is in its explanations of options and principles and directing the player to make the smartest, sharpest choices. This is a book for the most dedicated, serious players who study the game as they would a stock market or real estate investment. Which is the best direction to go and why? Dancer is the right man with the right answers.

Iskoe's "NFL Teams & Situations" should answer a multitude of questions, which in previous years have kept many a curious handicapper so busy testing theories of an angle or a situation they may have disappeared from society.

Again, Iskoe follows the pattern of previous works showing you how a team or the entire league did in dozens of situations, year by year, going back to 1997's season, then combining the last three seasons and the last six seasons overall. Iskoe also looks at how the entire league has done since 1993 in a variety of situations to satisfy the most curious of researchers.

Wondering how Miami did as a home favorite for the past three years? Very well. Specifically, they covered in 17 of 23 situations with one push (77 percent of the time) and in 13 of 14 opportunities against conference teams in that same period of time.

You'll be able to see how NFL teams did as favorite, dog, home or away, on grass vs. turf, in their first four games of the year, in sandwich games, against playoff teams and after scoring 30 or more points in their last game.

The Detroit Lions are worst in the NFL on grass since 1997, followed by the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. The Lions are 10-20-3 and Cincy is 18-35. For some reason, the Baltimore Ravens love turf and are 11-4 since 1997 against the spread. The worst home favorite? Arizona at 6-15 since 1997, followed by New England at 12-21-1.

Marc Lawrence's "Black Book" is special in that he focuses a good portion of his research on 100 percent situations where a team might be 8-0 against the spread or as bad as 0-10. There are thousands of angles and situations that are in between that 100 percent as well, for the colleges and the pros, with schedules and dates games will be played, with an alert to when an angle exists.

Lawrence, owner of Playbook operations in Cleveland, Ohio, also includes 10 betting angles -- college and pro, with rationale -- some in-depth reasoning behind the play being so strong.

Lawrence's book can be used by those who enter contests and want a quick way of making their picks while hoping history repeats. For parlay card players or those who love parlays alone it gives players a quick fix on angles which appear solid and build confidence.

The book can be used as a recordkeeper, although there's just enough room to indicate if you had a winner and if the angle repeated.
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