Pick Six or Count Cards: You Can Win Either Way . January 2011 . Vol 12 . No. 1

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Pick Six or Count Cards: You Can Win Either Way

By Dana Smith (for Howard Schwartz) - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas.

“This book can pay for itself, your retirement, and your house!” If I followed the hype on the back cover of Steven Kolb’s How to Win the Pick 6 (397 pgs, $25.95), I’d be racing out the door to lay a bet rather than writing this review. In 24 chapters of well thought out, step-by-step advice based on years of experience, Kolb lays out a handicapping plan for winning the intriguing Pick 6 that can make you a member of what he calls “The $100,000 Club,” handicappers who’ve won that much or more on a single Pick 6 ticket.

But like any wager you place in any game you play, there’s always the risk/reward factor, flavored by luck. “Don’t be surprised,” Kolb says, “to find that most $50,000 Pick 6 winners also had a horse selected at odds of 8-1 or higher as well (as their other picks). You have to risk a little to get ahead in this business.” Beginning with chapters on the basics of Pick 6 wagers and simple handicapping principles, the book takes you through “the 3 percent solution,” the importance of betting only carryovers, online wagering, and syndicates and wagering pools.

The author is an accomplished writer who does an exemplary job of defining, explaining, and amplifying all aspects of Pick 6 handicapping. I especially identified with “Two Weeks of Pure Hell,” Kolb’s true account of one of his infrequent, long runs of “awful, rotten, horrific, how-could-this-happen-to-me luck.” I’ve felt his pain in some of my poker sessions. But hey, it’s all a part of the game … or so the pros say.

Promising author David Lane has just come out with The Count of the Cards (432 pgs, $23.95), a novel that pivots around the adventurous and often dangerous life of professional card counter Jim Austin, who takes on casinos around the globe in the game of blackjack. As all true protagonists, he is a flawed character who must deal with his own brand of inner demons as he struggles to move to the top of the professional blackjack ladder on the international scene. With good instincts and hard-earned skills—and partly due to nebulous forces that influence his life—Austin eventually rises from low-limit tables in colorless casinos to the highest-stakes games in Las Vegas. And that’s when his real troubles begin.

Through intriguing twists and turns in the plot, Austin becomes ensnared in a nefarious scheme involving organized crime, drugs and money laundering that ultimately puts his life in the line of fire. Though I prefer more dialogue and less description to propel the plot, still Lane has penned a good read for lovers of a good yarn, and gambling and blackjack fans in particular.

These books are available at Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. You can order them at www.gamblersbookclub.com or phone the store at 1-800-522-1777 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. Opened in 1964, GBC is located at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, just a short drive from the Strip. View the store's complete line of books, CDs, videos and software at the web site.