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Book reviews by Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

Frank Scoblete (who wrote Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos and Forever Craps  among other books) has produced another solid work for those who wish to develop or perfect the concept of dice control (author Zeke Feinberg had the concept as Pre-Setting Dice— also the title of his book).

Scoblete’s new work is titled The Craps Underground: The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Are Winning Millions From The Casino (316 pages, hardbound, $24.95) and contains 20 chapters, covering the physics of throwing the dice, with set, grip and delivery explained in detail. “The more I played craps, the more I became convinced that rhythmic rolling was a fact and not a superstition,” the author says, in the search for what he called the “optimum roll.”

How Scoblete made the transition from a top-notch counter in blackjack to craps is detailed in the book. The people--some authors or casino-hassled ex-counters, shared the frustrations of many players who attracted extreme “heat” from the house; while another diverse crew of people—colorful, talented but willing to listen and learn began to form up in a “team effort.”

How all this came about—their winning, losing, experimenting--makes for some interesting reading. If you read the classic Eudaemonic Pie by Thomas Bass and his team of Silicon Valley physics professors from the 70s (this team tackled the question of how to beat roulette using a computer to test the velocity of the wheel and ball and to try to locate a biased wheel), you’ll get a feeling for which direction Scoblete’s book is headed. It’s like a great experiment, challenging, fascinating, exciting—going where few crapshooters have gone before.

Along the way, Scoblete introduces you to dreamers, schemers, system players who sometimes reveal their frustrations and destructive ways. Scoblete’s Las Vegas Diary chapter focuses on his adventures at the tables. You’ll meet the kindly personnel, the nasty craps dealers and supervisors while gaining a feeling for what you can expect once you have mastered or believe you’ve mastered the art of dice control.

This is not a book for the beginner—it’s for those looking for an alternative method of finding an edge at the table. It won’t make the house happy, knowing a new wave of players, with a new, puzzling, sometimes undetectable technique are about the descend on their tables. Ironically the house should be both hospitable and  excited their  tables will soon be jammed with fresh faces anxious to test the new methodology. Only time will tell how each side reacts to the other—hopefully it won’t take the fun out of the game and civility will dominate. Otherwise craps, like blackjack, with its constant countermeasures to blunt those using intelligence and memory will fade from popularity and existence.

In recent years, with the popularity of Omaha growing, there’s been a growing need for a new book on the game of Omaha High-Low Split. Seeing the need, authors Mark Tenner and Lou Krieger have penned Winning Omaha/8 Poker (251 pages, paperbound, $24.95).

(Ray Zee’s respected High-Low Split For Advanced Players remains one of the most important works ever on Omaha high-low split eight or better)

The game of Omaha is fairly new. Some say it originated in 1982. Others say it was played before that, but never on the level of popularity of the 21st Century. No matter. The public craves information on how to get better at the game—how to discipline their game and wait for the right spot. The game requires smart play—since it is a big pot-builder, it can also devastate a bankroll quickly.

Tenner and Krieger have their book at several levels and in many directions. There are sections on how to play Omaha for the beginner; followed by the Elements of Strategy (which includes controlling your emotions and why this is a game of patience, it also follows up with table etiquette and rules to remember.

Starting on page 57 the authors explain the mathematics and probability factors of the game; and outs, odds and percentages are shown in a key chart. Starting hand selections, playing the flop, playing the blinds; playing when they kill the pot; playing pairs on the flop;  and a key section designed to explain different betting limits make for different style games are also included.

There are sections on chip management; money management; different playing styles and characteristics worth observing of opponents; playing poker online; ways of identifying “good games” vs. bad games and how to fight your way through emotions.

This book should offer the beginner new ideas and fill in some gaps for the seasoned pro. Thanks to Tenner and the always-readable Krieger, this book should help create a new wave of Omaha players.

(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 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.)