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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Steele's College Football Annual; Gold Sheet Magazine Both Info-Packed

10 June 2004

Two of the most valuable preseason football magazines have arrived at Gambler's Book Shop, along with a book which offers a controversial look at Las Vegas' sex industry. The two magazines, Phil Steele's College Football Preview (328 pages, $7.95) and The Gold Sheet College & Pro Football Annual (220 pages, $6.99) should help prepare handicappers for the forthcoming 2004 season with analysis of teams, listing of returnees and pointspread histories.

The book, Skin City by Las Vegan Jack Sheehan (276 pages, hardbound, $24.95) is a trip involving big money, fantasies and the seamy side of the fastest growing city in the nation.

Steele's football magazine, the hottest seller of its kind in the store's 40-year history. Here the colleges get full attention, with five years of spreads and results; the 2004 schedule with room to keep records of virtually every important team; more than a dozen betting angles and trends for virtually every match-up, week by week; and an indication of the type of playing surface each game will be played on (grass or turf).

Need to see key box score statistics for games played last year? It's here, with offensive and defensive numbers listed. There's also coaching records -- straight up, vs. the spread, off a straight up loss, vs. conference or non-conference teams, at home away. Need to know number of starters returning on offense or defense or the number of lettermen returning or lost? It's here.

A major portion of the magazine is devoted to examining each team's position outlook, with who's back at each position and what Steele expects the individual to contribute in numbers or impact. Steele offers his own team forecast and shows you what each team's projected starting lineup might look like along with the names of top newcomers. Major conferences are analyzed along with potential Heisman Trophy candidates; starting power ratings for major colleges for '04 are listed and the often-asked question of which teams play the toughest schedule is also answered for 2004, while allowing a look at how the 2003 season ended. As a bonus, Steele lists more than 60 strong betting angles for the 2004 season week by week beginning Sept. 4.

If you get no other magazine for betting college football, make it this one.

The Gold Sheet, now in its 48th year of operation, has both college and pro material (117 colleges). For those who must know, there's a major section on betting the pre-season games, including a well-researched and logical essay by Chuck Sippl, the Gold Sheet's senior editor. Following the essay is a two-page section showing the spread breakdown for the past five seasons for pro teams in pre-season showing their record in home-road; straight up, etc. Another section shows you what the spreads and totals were for each pre-season game since 2000, with date game played, the opponent, results, and what the 2004 pre-season schedule is for each teams.

There's a key essay on finding value in football money lines by Rob Gillespie of BoDog, with a chart showing what the spread/money line comparison are for both the NFL and the colleges.

The magazine has four years of spreads and totals for each NFL team with their 2004 schedule with comments about NFL coaches and their teams in pre-season comments.

For the colleges, there are four years of spreads, the 2004 schedule; indicators of who the returnees are; a look at key game stats from every contest in 2003; a look at most major conferences with final standings; offensive and defensive statistics; top rushers and passers and their stats; final bowl results.

This is a super overall resource for preparing for the 2004 season, with excellent NFL pre-season material in particular.

Jack Sheehan's book Skin City is a fascinating foray into another world almost everyone knows exists but few have ventured into it in such depth. The author has lived in Las Vegas 30 years. He gained the trust of strippers, escort service girls, hookers, those who work in the "adult video" industry, a madam, the city's police chief and the mayor among others.

This is not a how-to book, but it'll tell thrill-seekers and those with a yen for the wild side of the city what they can expect if some innocent-looking female approaches them at a bar, party or wherever with the line: "Hi honey--want a date?"

What's a real eye-opener is the economics of the business--how much the girls make on stage or in bed and how much can be earned in a night, a week or over the long haul. If you're married and order this title, make sure your marriage is rock-solid or you'll have some trouble explaining it to the missus.

Sheehan doesn't miss a trick, pardon the pun. His material on swinger clubs might fascinate some and make others wonder what happened to normality in this century. If you shock easily this book's not for you. But if you want an honest appraisal of an oft-times kinky world of women manipulating men out of money under the guise of entertainment and fantasy, Sheehan's got the goods.
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