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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Root's Zen of Gambling; Collector's Guide to Casino Dice Hot Items at GBC

30 September 2004

Wayne Allyn Root's The Zen of Gambling (322 pages, hardbound, $19.95) and The Collector's Guide to Casino Dice (122 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $45) are clearly two diverse books, and both have have are being scooped up since their recent arrival at Gambler's Book Club.

Root's book, subtitled The Ultimate Guide to Risking It All and Winning at Life, is geared to sports bettors, anyone who gambles in a casino and for individuals who plan to become a successful investors on Wall Street.

Known primarily for his sports betting advice, in articles and on television, Root here takes a contrarian stand when it comes to gambling, and particularly in the sports wagering arena. He's been betting sports for two decades and he's seen the losers and the winners. It's the latter group he tries to focus on here by asking and answersing the question: what makes a winner?

Much of what he says is not new but the way he presents the material offers hope and a sort of fresh approach to common sense investing in risk-taking situations. Have nerve, aim for the sky, take action, work hard and luck will be with you, stay positive, create your own rules, have faith, keep physically, mentally and spiritually healthy.

He's an inspirational type person, and while drawing from his own failures and successes, he offers examples and optimism, like a minister tending to his congregation.

One of the more fascinating chapters is titled History Meets Contrarian Strategy (Historical Trends, Theories, and Systems for Sports Gambling Success). Here, Root rightfully debunks team-specific trends which too many bettors rely upon ever so strongly. For example, he says "...I do not trust or utilize a trend that says the Dallas Cowboys are 10-0 on the road versus teams from the NFC Central. Or Dallas is 0-7 the last seven times they've played on a Friday."

He calls trends like that "most probably a statistical fluke -- pure random chance..." Too, he says "my last reason for ignoring team-specific trends or systems is that because of the powerful effect of free agency in the NFL, teams change personnel drastically and often...THE Dallas Cowboys are a whole new team!"

Root doesn't neglect college football, basketball and baseball or poker (just a small section on that game) and he has a lot to say about who wins and loses in the stock market. Overall, this is a very positive individual who seems to want to create winners through inspirational examples. He explains the importance of money management, honors the great risk takers throughout history (you'll be surprised at his examples) and explains why they are truly the "super-achievers" of this and past centuries.

This is a book combining common sense practices with colorful pep talks -- it's not boring, but might appear self-promotional. (For those who want to contact Root, his web site is included in the book).

The Collector's Guide to Casino Dice by Rick Olsen and Andy Johnson has color photos of more than 2000 pairs of dice (if you're wondering why the book has a high ticket price, color costs). The book is, in a way, dedicated to the late Jeff Laudeman (known as The Diceman).

It was Laudeman's pioneer work six years ago that helped collectors realize the rarity of certain dice while understanding the history of the game of craps.

The dice listed are from the 1920s to the present. The focus is on the Las Vegas area, although Henderson and other areas outlying Vegas are included. The authors plan another book for the Reno-Tahoe area in the future.

The guide contains a rarity scale, showing which dice are valued anywhere from $1 to more than $400, while considering what is available on e-bay, plus an explanation of the innovations that have occurred in the manufacture of dice and the different designs (such as Birdseye, Bullseye, Doughnut and Intricate), logo changes and canceling.

This may be the best guide now on the market for those collect dice. It's colorful, easy to use, and will help the beginner or most serious collector or hobbyist. For example, anyone possessing Dutch Mill dice from the 1920s -- only two pair are now known to exist -- will be happy to know they are worth more than $400. The authors indicate the establishment in Las Vegas (located on Boulder Highway) had gambling action even before the legalization in 1931. The dice the authors have "are crystallized but still intact. That's remarkable since these dice are close to 80 years old," they say.

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