Diverse Group of Books Part of Life . December 2002

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Diverse Group of Books Part of Life

at Gamber's Book Shop

By Howard Schwartz

Gambler's Book Shop (originally known as Gambler's Book Club), in its 38th year of operation, often sees a wide spectrum of customers in its Las Vegas store—doctors, lawyers, casino owners, computer geniuses, sports bettors with a dream, blackjack counters and dedicated crapshooters and poker players among them. Equally diverse are the books that arrive each week at the store. Thirty-eight years ago, the shelves sported roughly six sections; today there are than two dozen different areas of gambling to choose from, including the casino games.

This week, let's take a quick look at four items in four areas of gambling, including one piece of unique software for those interested in learning how to deal mini-baccarat.

DEALING MINI BACCARAT ($20) by talented Las Vegan Dale Yeazel is a new digital educational tool for the casino dealer. The CD-ROM (486 processor-based Pentium or better recommended), Microsoft Windows 3.1, 95, 98 NT, ME or XP, 8 MB of RAM--24 MB recommended), works on the Macintosh operating system as well.

In the work's  well-illustrated E-book section the reader will be able to learn step by step how the game is played; the shuffling procedure; how to deal the hands and understand the often mishandled third card rule; how to compute the commission on banker bets.

Yeazel's teaching tool has a unique third card drill program. Here the program deals random cards to the player and banker and forces the user to make the right decision (that is, card for the player, card for the banker, banker wins, player wins) before finishing the hand. If the offers an incorrect response, he'll soon know about it, and the program will not finish the hand until all correct responses have been made.

A final segment of the program is the "commission drill", designed to train those who have troubles figuring the mathematics. It generates random five-dollar amounts up to $500. The user then enters the answer and is told whether he is correct or not. When a wrong answer is given the correct answer is displayed. Even experienced dealers can use the program to fine-tune their skills, and the program is priced well enough to perhaps save the cost of attending a dealer school.

Another new arrival at the store is HOW TO AVOID CASINO TRAPS! by John Alcamo (143 pages, paperbound, $6.99). It is designed to make casino players aware of what they're really up against.. This book will better prepare beginners for their first adventures in a casino or riverboat, explaining how gambling establishments entice, sometimes mislead, often confuse the rules regarding playing the slots, video poker machines or when players are at the blackjack tables.

Alcamo, based in Atlantic City, dissects and explains what the player can expect in the way of freebies, extras, comps—how casino promise one thing, often giving something else and how the smart player, using logic and clear thinking can overcome this "fog of deception" spewed by casino promotions people. This book gets to the nitty-gritty of it all—what's the real truth about your chances and what do casinos really promise and eventually deliver. It should be a must-read by beginners in particular and may well straighten out the experienced player who's been fooling him or herself too long about how much has been won or lost.

THE GREAT BOOK OF DOMINO GAMES by Jennifer Kelley (95 pages, paperbound, $6.95) is a wonderful guide for those who want to know about the game or improve upon what they know, and as a gift item who didn't know there were so many unique variations to this unique form of recreation.

The book explains the history of the games; terms used by players; rules; then moves to games for two or more players; games for one player; games using special domino sets; games using Oriental dominoes. There are scoring games; trump and trick games and basic blocking games included.

The Ted Binion murder case and subsequent trial in the late 1990s still fascinates Las Vegans and those who knew the Binion family headed by the legendary Benny Binion, who died in 1989. Several books have already been written about the Binion family and the trail, but one I recently discovered WAS AN EARLY GRAVE by Gary King(306 pages, paperbound, $6.50).

The first 20 pages of the book background the growth and history of the Binion family holdings, their internal family feud and even includes a bit of Las Vegas history. From there on, the murder and subsequent trail takes center stage, with a large cast of characters, good guys, bad guys and evidence experts. It would have helped if the book were indexed by names and places, but King, veteran writer or true crime literature does a solid job of tracing what happened in chronological order, and the book is packed with details and photos, tying in newspaper clippings with trial transcripts and testimony.

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at www.gamblersbook.com and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)