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By Howard Schwartz - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas 

For the occasional gambler who's not sure which games to play, one book can often do the job.  This is especially good for the family with diverse interests. After all, why buy three different books when one will suffice? Here is a selection worth considering which offer the basics, with ideas and alternatives.

Beat the House by Frederick Lembeck (183 pages, paperbound, $6.50): A one-volume package of ideas and stories primarily on craps and roulette, with theories, systems, explanations of the various bets, including ways of “hedging.” Each game gets equal treatment with basic term definitions and table etiquette.

109 Ways to Beat The Casinos by Walter Thomason (147 pages, paperbound, $7): Packed with tips and shortcuts to playing the casino games Thomason focuses on some intangibles such as table etiquette, money management, tipping, game strategy, getting and using comps. He offers advice on Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud, Three Card Poker and keno.

Gaming—Cruising the Casinos With Syndicated Gambling Columnist John Grochowski (182 pages, paperbound,$6): Written by one of the most respected writers in the country, this book provides thought-provoking chapters on everything from blackjack and craps to video poker, money management, keno, using slot club cards, tournament play, betting systems, and progression betting. The author “humanizes” the games from his own perspective—that is, offering up the games from his own experiences and making you think about the correct decision.

Smart Casino Gambling by Olaf Vancura (334 pages, paperbound, $24.95) is the most comprehensive of all general gambling books, with sections on all casino games—an especially good one on baccarat and on gambler's fallacies. Packed with intelligent, usable mathematical formulas, a nice section on casino inducements (including comps and slot clubs), it has excellent material for the beginning sports bettor as well. The book has a small but important section on shuffle tracking.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler's Book Shop. The store's web site is You can order there using your major credit or debit card or by phoning the store Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders usually shipped the next working day. The store, opened in 1964, is located at 1550 E. Tropicana Suite #4, between Maryland Parkway and Spencer Avenue, just a couple of miles from the famous Strip. 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's address is 1550 E. Tropicana Suite #4, Las Vegas NV 89119.