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By Howard Schwartz--Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada

Mitchell Cogert believes the game of razz to be “the easiest way to win consistently at poker” because “it is the one remaining game where the knowledge base remains small” and most players focus on hold’em. His new book, titled Play Razz Poker to Win (130 pages, paper bound, $19.95) has arrived at Gambler’s Book Shop.

Another fresh arrival is Sire Ratings 2008-09, an update to Exploring Pedigree by Jim Mazur and Mike Helm,  (124 pages, 8x11 paper bound, $34.95).

True, razz has been discussed in few quality books until now. Sklansky on Poker has a major section; the original Super System by Brunson has some material and the Full Tilt Poker Strategy (Tournament Edition) also provides advice. Now Cogert, who has played in the Bay Area of California and identifies himself as a successful strategist to Fortune 100 companies offers more than a dozen chapters on the game in this 2008 book.

Included are the top razz hands; starting hands; stealing; 3rd street play; a starting hand point system; reading players and hands. He continues with 4th street heads up play; advanced concepts; 5th, 6th and 7th street advice; many Full Tilt poker game sample hands and analysis.

For those who want to learn more about this game at any level, and get out of the hold’em rut, it’s an excellent tutorial.

It’s that time of year when horseplayers perk up for some of the best racing, with Triple Crown action including the Kentucky Derby.

Sire Ratings 2008-09 rates more than 4,300 sires, with the authors focusing their study to the last three years.

As the authors state: “Clearly, the pedigree factor has the best chance of predicting success when a horse bred for a particular distance or surface is trying it for the first time against a field in which all the experienced horses are proven losers, have run below par, and have already failed at the distance or on the surface in question.”

The book covers more than 40 race meets conducted in North America and Canada and have added a number of foreign turf sires and broodmare sires. The book measures how successful a sire’s progeny is likely to be when they debut in maiden races; in their first or second start on turf; when they compete on off tracks; what their stamina index is and when other mature later than usual.

The guide includes a section listing stud fees for 2008 two-year-olds; low and zero percent win per cent for the past three years.

Overall, a tremendous time-saver which may well guide you to some overlooked longshots based on breeding.

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.