GAMBLING BOOKS FOR GIFTS . December 2007 . Vol 8 . No. 12

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By Howard Schwartz--Gambler's Book Shop Howard Schwartz

Gamblers, whether recreational players or seasoned pros, appreciate a good book that’ll save them money, make them money or help them become more knowledgeable. Plus, everyone wants to be a “maven” or an expert, at least just for that party, reunion or at the local pub. That can happen when they receive a good book. Here then, with thumbnail descriptions and prices, are a few of those noteworthy books for the season.

GAMBLING COLLECTIBLES by Leonard Schneir ($29.95, 160 pages, paperbound). Packed with color photos of gambling paraphernalia including old chips, playing cards, postcards, faro layouts, poker books. Even tells you approximate value of potentially collectible items.

GAMBLING’S STRANGEST MOMENTS by Graham Sharpe. ($13.00, 370 pages, paperbound). Oddball, unusual wins and losses, bad beats, big bets in sports, at the race track and in European and American casinos from 16th to 21st Century.

CRAZY ‘08—HOW A CAST OF CRANKS, ROGUES, BONEHEADS AND MAGNATES CREATED THE GREATEST YEAR IN BASEBALL HISTORY by Cait Murphy ($24.95, 368 pages, hardbound). In vivid detail, examines baseball almost a century ago, including great pitchers, batters, scandals (including pre-Black Sox scandal fixes); when the ball was “dead” and $1,000 was big money.

READ ‘EM AND REAP--A CAREER FBI AGENT’S GUIDE TO DECODING POKER TELLS by Joe Navarro and Phil Hellmuth ($18.95, 213 pages, paperbound). How to make money identifying your own tells (subconscious moves, gestures—even the way you breathe) and those of your opponents to detect and assess bluffs, high confidence, establishing your own “table image.”

PONZI’S SCHEME-- A TRUE STORY OF A FINANCIAL LEGEND by Mitchell Zuckoff ($14.95, 390 pages, paperbound). In the 1920s, Charles Ponzi, promising to double investors’ money in 90 days, was raking in $2 million a week. This is the true story of a scoundrel who launched one of the greatest financial scams in modern history. How he conned banks and investors is detailed. Modern day scam artists are still pulling the “rob Peter to pay Paul” rip-off almost a century later.

THE WIZARD OF ODDS--HOW JACK MOLINAS ALMOST DESTROYED THE GAME OF BASKETBALL by Charley Rosen. ($17.95, 428 pages, paperbound. How one of the most talented basketball players of his era (his murder is still an unsolved mystery), who was also a stock market genius, a lawyer, became a big-time gambler and fixer. He single-handedly helped corrupt both the college and pro game.

SCARED MONEY by Mark Cramer ($14.95, 134 pages, paperbound). Now back in print, this is an autobiographical yet instructional book on betting thoroughbreds. The author, one of the most talented of this century on betting the ponies, offers advice, positive betting habits, analyzes gambling psychology in this gem of a memoir.

23 WAYS TO GET TO FIRST BASE by ESPN’s Gary Belsky and Neil Fine ($19.95, 305 pages, hard bound). Packed with funny facts, trivia, winners, losers, sports, thoroughbreds, mind-benders, potential bar bets. Dates, places, nicknames, history, movies, rules—all connected to athletes and stuff you wished you knew. A great argument settler, gift for a bartender or to tackle that “know-it-all” pal.

THE SECRET LIFE OF HOUDINI by William Kalush and Larry Sloman ($29.95, 591 pages, hard bound). One of the classic works on a legendary magician, this book is packed with photos, reference sources. Even explores the possibility Houdini was a spy for the British during World War I, and examines the theory he did not die accidentally. For aspiring magicians with a yen for history.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler's Book Shop (Gambler's Book Club). The store's web site is You may order there using MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or by phoning the store any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders usually shipped the next working day. You may view the store's complete array of books, videos and software via the Web site or request a hard copy of the catalog be mailed free and first class. The store has moved to a new location: 1550 E. Tropicana #4, Las Vegas NV 89119.