Go-To Craps and Poker Books Give How-To-Win Advice . October 2011 . Vol 12 . No. 10

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Go-To Craps and Poker Books Give How-To-Win Advice

By T. Dana Smith (for Howard Schwartz) - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas

In today’s losing economy, anybody who has winning advice merits attention. They may not give solutions to the global economic scene, but three new releases do give you savvy advice on how to put more money in your pockets.

Craps: A Smart Shooter’s Guide (192 pgs, $14.95) by Thomas Midgley has long been a staple for crapshooters around the globe. A newly formatted and updated version of this classic brings its cogent advice to readers in clear and concise language that leaves no stone unturned in presenting a winning formula for success at the dice tables.

Based on real-time research data that Midgley, an engineer/mathematician and ardent fan of craps, meticulously recorded while rolling the dice 7,500 times at five vintage Las Vegas casinos, the book opens with a lucid explanation of why the house has an advantage over the player at the craps tables. But you already knew that, right? The important question is, “How can I overcome the house’s advantage?” The answer to that query is Midgley’s mission, one that he completes with flying colors—make that “color,” as in the extra greenbacks you’ll put in your pocket putting his expert advice into action.

After explaining the probability, odds and return ratios of craps, Midgley explores the basic pass and come bets, moves along to the flawed trap and sucker bets, and then exposes the fallacies in many craps systems. He culminates his “don’t” advice with “do this instead” instruction in his expanded chapter titled “The Winning Approach.” Dotted with charts and graphs that give the actual data Midgley recorded from rolling the bones thousands of times, this valuable book is sure to make anybody who loves playing craps a “smart shooter,” as promised in its title.

For those of you who thrive on seeing real numbers, Midgley’s 7,500 Craps Rolls (192 pgs, $14.95) is the perfect companion to Craps: A Smart Shooter’s Guide. In this follow-up tome, the author presents advanced statistics and information on free odds bets, pass and don’t-pass tabulations, field and non-field bets, any craps, and hardway bets. The crowning jewel of the book is its presentation of the actual numbers that showed up on each die in the 7,500-roll study, where and when he rolled them, and their frequency. If numbers fascinate you, this graphic illustration of precise dice rolls will keep you interested for a very long time.

In their new release, The Math of Hold’em (397 pgs, $34.95), authors Collin Moshman and Douglas Zare show you how to compute and figure out just about anything mathematical that you need to know to become a winner at Texas hold’em. But this is not your grandfather’s math book packed with formulas that look like Picasso sketches—this is a masterpiece of simplicity created by two young brainiacs from Cal Tech who have their fingers on the pulse of poker.

After covering the basics of poker math (pot odds, probabilities, outs)—with illustrated poker hands rather than long, involved explanations—the authors keep the action moving with myriad card pictures and a question/answer format in major sections on advanced expected value (EV), game theory, tournaments, statistics and software. Like the “spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down,” they painlessly explain complex concepts to the math-challenged. In fact, they present their computations enjoyably: They use “Sklansky dollars” to explain basic concepts; “Rock-paper-scissors” and “Chicken” to explore game theory; and the independent chip model (ICM) to discuss poker tournament math.

Never before have I enjoyed reading a tome on math—but hey, these guys are good! They hooked me with their pictorials and reeled me in with their snappy writing style, thus helping me avoid being a fish in the next hold’em game I play.

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.