What Would Be The 'Perfect Book' For Gamblers Who Want It All? . February 2002

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What Would Be The 'Perfect Book' For Gamblers Who Want It All?

by Howard Schwartz

As a jest, I often ask gamblers who are "just browsing," what the "perfect book" would be for them when shopping at the Gambler's Book Club.

By "perfect," I guess I'm just being inquisitive, because no such thing exists. If it were perfect, just imagine the following "Twilight Zone" possibilities:

A sports bettor would, if not too greedy, love to have the scores of all next week's football games so he could make a few dozen 10-team parlays, spread the action wide and retire to the South Seas a week later. I mean, imagine if someone could see into the future, hand someone a book, a sheet, a newspaper with the results, and actually convince the guy getting the info, it was solid, accurate information, and completely bettable—at least once.

What would happen if the guy didn't believe he was getting the real thing, was only going to get it once—and if he missed the opportunity, it would never happen again?

There was a movie made, for you trivia buffs in 1944, starring Dick Powell and Jack Oakie, called It Happened Tomorrow, where such a thing occurs as part of the movie plot. The heroes of this saga take about an hour to catch on to this good thing—in this case it was the race results at the local track they were getting 24 hours ahead of time—and they couldn't believe it.

How about the memorable sequence in one of the Back to the Future movies where someone gets hold of a reference book from the l980s listing the winners of all important sporting events and really goes wild—since the movie is supposed to take place in the 1950s and 1960s?

Or could the perfect vehicle be an item selling for less than $20, with a triple-your-money-back guarantee from the publisher (not the seller), with a title like Win Every Time Whenever You Bet, which covers all forms of gambling, written in every language, and comes pocket-sized? I guess that would be the early demise of all forms of gambling, and Las Vegas would become one giant sand trap or dune buggy center of the universe.

Dream on everyone. It isn't going to happen. Only hard work, money management, discipline produces more winners than losers. No book can be guaranteed to make anyone a winner or provide a certain percentage of winners. A book, can, at its very best, keep you away from a higher percentage of losers than the guy seated or sitting next to you who has no clue as to what a low percentage or sucker bet might be and who just doesn't know when to quit.

Books are supposed to be guides by people who have already made their mistakes and are trying to guide you to smarter wagers or those with a low House edge. If anyone had the ultimate angle, winners a day ahead of time, or the perfect system, they would not be selling or giving it away.

The next time you see or hear of a mail-order "pitch" guaranteeing riches, winnings, a sure thing each day—even $100 a week at the track or at the tables—one of those quit work, sleep until noon schemes, chuckle to yourself and move on.

Every once in a while we get a hunch, have a dream, stumble on some instant reasoning for betting a horse, a lottery number, a team in a future bet situation. That's what keeps us all going—the hope we get that instantaneous "rush" of an idea—it happens while we dream, while we're shaving, taking a shower or meditating.

It's that unpredictable "I'm a genius," "I'm blessed" feeling we all yearn for—and when we hear or read about it happening to others, we dream it might happen to us.

Dreaming has always been an escape from reality. Perhaps gambling is also an escape. The question remains: If we happen to hit that perfect day—the perfect session where we win big—can't seem to lose and we quit when ahead…just what do you do next? Quit forever? Buy something or invest in something quickly? Sock it away in the bank? Live the wild life?

Maybe it's just that—what we actually do with the money defines our values. How do we handle the victory? With restraint? Or with abandon? It's similar to how people handle fame—sudden fame and riches. If they forget their roots, they forfeit their souls in some way and are doomed to give it all back.

(Books reviewed here are available from Gambler's Book Club (Gambler's Book Shop) by calling 1-800-522-1777 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Saturday. Use MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no American Express accepted), or order via the store's web site at www.gamblersbook.com, using your credit card. The store's 1,000 books, plus software and videos are listed on the web site or if you'd like a copy of the 80-page catalog mailed to you, ask via the web site or by toll-free number or mail. The store is located at 630 South 11th St., Las Vegas NV 89101, and is now in its 37th year of operation. It is located two miles from Downtown Las Vegas and about the same distance from where The Strip begins. It is a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)