Beat the Slots . No-Limit & Pot-Limit Poker Books . November 2010 . Vol 11 . No. 11

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Beat the Slots by Marten Jensen

Review By Howard Berenbon

Beat the Slots by Martin Jensen is a very thorough guide to playing and winning at casino slot machines.  You’ll find some interesting history with details of the first machine built by the Mills Novelty Company in 1912 to today’s complex computer-controlled games.  If you’ve ever wondered why they are sometimes referred to as “one arm bandits,” you’ll find that earned that infamous reputation in the 1930s when the mob controlled some of the US casinos.

If you were under the impression, as so many are, that the slot machine is a waste of time and money, well, according to Jensen, you’re wrong because he’s going to tell you how to win.

The book is made up of 15 chapters in 144 pages ($9.95 US) starting with slot machine basics and elements (reels, symbols, paylines and more) and money considerations (coins, tokens and credits).   After the basics, he jumps into playing advice, which offers some tips to play by. The next chapters go into some details on the various machines and how to beat them.  You’ll find a chapter each on the spinning reel slots, video machines and the progressive slots with a chapter on how to beat them.

Beat the Slots has more than enough information and playing advice to help you make the most out of your time and money playing casino slots.  For example, location, location, location is one criteria for picking the slots because the frequency of payout varies from machine to machine, casino to casino and even areas within the casino.  Payouts for slots can vary from 80 to 98 percent, or sometimes greater.  One piece of good advice is to ask a nearby casino employee to point out the “hot” machine on the floor.  This may be an employee roaming the floor offering change, a waitress who brings you your drinks or someone at the casino cage.  If you win, don’t forget to tip them.

New No-Limit & Pot-Limit Poker Books Teach Winning Tactics

New poker books designed to give players the winning edge in no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha have just hit the shelves. First up is seasoned author Ed Miller’s Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em, (376 pgs, $34.95), the latest of his five hold’em books. In this expertly written volume, he has teamed up with Sunny Mehta and Matt Flynn to bring readers the latest information and strategies on how to win at the $1/$2 blinds no-limit hold’em games that are wildly popular in casino and online cardrooms.

Drawing an analogy to a chess master who advises his students to consider all 64 squares on the board before deciding his best move, the authors advise small stakes no-limit hold’em players not to so narrowly define standard strategy that they overlook opportunities to make brilliant plays. Maintaining that every hand situation has two main components of value—showdown equity and steal equity—they conclude that “a hand is worth playing when the combination of these two components is worth more than what you risk to play it.” Makes sense, right? But first, you must know how to determine a hand’s dual equity. And that is where the value in their strategies and advice is centered.

Miller, Mehta and Flynn deftly guide readers through four major strategy sections that are backed up with multiple illustrated hand examples taken from actual games to demonstrate how their principles work out in real game situations. Part Two is an important treatise on “Beating Online $1/$2 6-Max Games.” Miller says that “small stakes no-limit hold’em isn’t for wusses anymore,” because Internet games these days are full of savvy and highly experienced players who battle intensely to win $20 and $50 pots.
The authors’ stated goal is to “translate high-level poker theory into an easy-to-learn format that will give you the edge needed to win in today’s games.” They have hit the bulls-eye square on in this lucid and intelligently written how-to manual.

Pot-limit Omaha has a devoted following beyond parallel in poker—players devoutly travel worldwide in search of good games. Jeff Hwang, author of Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha, Volumes 1-3, (544 pgs, $34.95 ea), is no stranger to this elite group. In his first book on the game, Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy, Hwang laid out the core strategies for deep-stacked pot-limit Omaha games, and assumes that the reader of his three follow-up volumes understand the concepts in his basic primer.

Volume I (released last year) explores small ball and short-handed play. Volume II follows up with an in-depth strategy the author calls “LAG” or loose-aggressive preflop tactics. Volume II is sub-titled “The Short-Handed Workbook” and is designed to help players plug the leaks in their game by giving them extensive practice hands to show them how to apply the skills that the author so carefully details in volumes I and II.

Hwang is a renowned and respected pot-limit Omaha specialist, whose advice and clearly written strategies should improve any player’s game. He does not pretend to be writing for the uninitiated amateur player—his books are strictly for advanced players who want to take their game to an even higher level of expertise and profit.

Changing gears from an individual sport to a team sport, football fans can get the latest scoop from Pointwise ($8), a weekly tip sheet for college and NFL handicappers. Gamblers Book Club is the only venue in Vegas that carries this nifty up-to-the-minute pub, which arrives each Tuesday afternoon at the GBC showroom around 4:00 p.m. You’ll have to grab it fast, though, as each week’s shipment usually sells out within a day.

These books are available at Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. You can order them at 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.