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By Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

Lou Krieger and Kathleen Keller Watterson have given an innovative form of gambling a major boost, with their vital, incisive, Internet Poker (How to Play and Beat Online Poker Games), (200 pages, paperbound, $14.95), and Al O’Donnell has made it ahead of the tidal wave of new football betting books, with his timely Point Spread Playbook (100 pages, paperbound, $19.95). Both are new arrivals at Gambler’s Book Shop this week.

Internet Poker should answer hundreds of questions for the potential, unsure player, who worries about cost, legality, the honesty of the games, how to get started and how to get better. Priced at $14.95, no player in his right mind should be without this marvelous reference sourcebook.

Krieger, author of Hold‘em Excellent, More Hold‘em Excellence and Poker for Dummies, here teams with a veteran journalist and poker player, Watterson, to explain what adjustments must be made by an individual who wishes to play online and what internet poker is like, including what a “virtual dealer” is.

There’s no assuming the reader knows the basics so the authors introduce you to everything from antes and hand rankings along with concepts common to all poker games. The book’s focus is on Texas hold’em; Omaha; Omaha high-low split; seven stud; seven high-low split and how to “scoop” both ends of high-low split games.

A portion of this book/tutorial is coordinated with the respected Wilson Turbo Software. In fact each book comes with a CD which contains demonstration versions of the Wilson software, and when used in conjunction with one chapter, contains 125 practice hands, providing a great assist to an online player. (The software requires Windows 95 or higher.)

Chapters eight through 12 should help the intelligent player choose where in the World Wide Web to play; how to sign up and fund an account; selecting and joining games and buying in. There are key abbreviations to understanding for chatting (like nh for nice hand); what to do if you lose your Internet connection during play; what about “all-in abuse”? The book even offers tips for online etiquette including how to avoid being rude and when to comment on a hand if at all.

One particular section may be worth the price of the book itself. Titled Legality, Security, Money Management and Records, it delves into the possibility some unscrupulous individuals may have separate accounts on multiple computers of “networking colluders” who share information. The fact that there’s no chance of a misdeal, that the shuffle is truly random and that detected cheaters will have their funds frozen (to be distributed to victims) should help build confidence among those seeking assurances about cyberspace poker’s benefits.

Is the entire concept legal? What are the dangers of establishing an operation based in the U.S. yourself? Also, how important is money management and what records should you keep and for reasons?

There are many questions the novice may have about this hottest, newest form of online gambling. Krieger and Watterson have done a marvelous job of providing answers. It’s a book that should be read—before you play. A great gift item too.

Jim Feist’s 2003 Football Workbook (Pro and College) (305 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $39.95) and Casino Credit & Collection (195 pages, hardbound, $50), though world’s apart in content and audience, comprise two key arrivals at Gambler’s Book Shop this week. One is sought after by handicappers year after year; the other is a new title that will likely become a best-seller in it’s own market.

Feist’s annual title has its own unique style, in that it is a record-keeper that allows you to record the results of every regular season pro and college game, with score, totals, opening and closing line. (It indicates division games for the pros.) You’ll have 10 years of spreads and totals, year by year to refer to, as well as a look at how each 2003 opponent fared against the home team 10 years back. In an example let’s say the Bears are playing the Broncos this year, which they are Nov. 23. Feist shows you every meeting the Bears have had with Denver since 1993—they met twice with the last meeting in 1996, when the Broncos won 17-12, but the Bears covered against an 11-point spread, and the game went under against a 42 bookmaker’s total.

In another section there is a summary showing how teams performed in various pointspread situations, ranging from pick‘em to three-point to over 10 points, as favorite or dog, and that’s home or away, then again on turf versus grass. That breakdown is extended to look back in increments of l, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years. The pro section covers 69 pages, with the college section, in alphabetical order, beginning on page 72.

For the colleges you get the same record-keeping set-up, 10-year spread history and a special feature of showing you how each team has done for the past 10 years against every 2003 opponent.  Looking at BYU for example, they’ll be playing Notre Dame November 15. They’ve met only twice before in the past 10 years, the last time in 1994, at Notre Dame, winning 21-14 and obviously covering against a 15-point spread. No totals are listed for college games.

Many smaller schools that are board teams are included in the Feist book, including Louisiana at Lafayette and Monroe; North Texas State; San Jose State and Western Michigan. The number of returnees for the college teams is not listed in this book.


In recent year, federal and state requirements for casino in regard to casino credit and collection laws have changed. There are differences in credit issues between states like Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota and even Native American casinos.

Anthony Cabot and Joseph Kelly have written and helped compile what certainly must-be the most important book in years for casino management—and titled Casino Credit & Collection. The book was published in July 2003 and contains facts, legal precedents, procedural suggestions and virtually everything an intelligent casino operation must understand in regard to credit procedures, internal controls and collections.

It appears, from the multitude of violations and subsequent fines in various states where poorly-trained or lazy personnel have jeopardized many a casino license, that re-training and re-orientation is a priority. Understanding the costs of credit; currency reporting; proper interactions with patrons; correct methods of resolving credit collection; write-off procedures is vital to any successful casino operation.

But do casinos truly understand public policy regarding gaming debts? What about improving the chances of a successful collection case? Also, what can a casino expect in regard to a defense to a casino collection case? The book covers all the aforementioned topics, plus offers a vital look at International Collections (what the laws are in other nations regarding collection of gaming debts).

With a four-page bibliography of other sources and a handy five-page index, this becomes a must-have reference for every gaming operation in this country and for those in other nations, not only for casinos, but for players who may choose to challenge the law, and their lawyers who may go to the wall in their defense.

Al O’Donnell, out of the Chicago area, is one of the classiest guys in the business of providing material to the pro football bettor who loves to do his or her research before the season starts. His Point Spread Playbook has been a bestseller at Gambler’s Book Shop for more than two decades.

O’Donnell’s strength is that he doesn’t tell you to bet for or against a team, he just gives it the “Jack Webb approach” (remember the old Dragnet series?) and says, “just the facts.”

This 2003 edition offers dozens of spread tendencies (how often a team covered at home or away; certain streaks in covering or failing to cover) and in overs and unders (totals). He doesn’t say “bet the Jets when such and such happens”—he just says here’s what’s happened in the past, use your good judgment and see if the trend continues and understand why.

You can look back for the last three seasons for each pro team and see if they covered or failed to cover in each game played; whether the game was on grass or artificial turf; what the line was, if the game went over or under.

The book acts as a handy record-keeper also, showing you the complete 2003 schedule, what type of surface each game will be played on; if the game is a division battle or conference or interconference.

There are sections on how teams did in Monday night games; in post-season play; in the Super Bowl.

Overall, one of the best buys of all time, from an accurate, respected, knowledgeable individual whose books and reputation have stood the test of time.

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)