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Best of John Grochowski
Grochowski Reviews - Part 217 February 2004
We took a look at several books last week. Let's wrap up our roundup with two more books, a nice piece of slot machine software and a little something to help blackjack players.
The Craps Underground by Frank Scoblete ($24.95, Bonus Books). The author handed me his latest when I arrived in Tunica, Miss., last month to speak at the Frank Scoblete Gamblers Jamboree. I put it aside for the plane trip home, then just devoured it.
Scoblete is always fun to read, and in his first hardcover book he's at his most entertaining. Subtitled The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers are Winning Millions From the Casinos, this isn't an instructional book so much as a life's journey, from non-gambling actor to blackjack card counter to craps advantage player.
The meeting with the Captain, the legendary Atlantic City dice player who pointed Scoblete toward advantage play, is detailed here, as are the founding of the Golden Touch crew that gives craps instruction around the country, and the story behind the A&E special that showed Scoblete and other Golden Touch players beating the game in a three-casino challenge.
The Craps Underground is a fascinating read, one that should keep gamblers enthralled even if they're not dice players.
Powerful Profits from Craps by Victor H. Royer ($14.95, Lyle Stuart Kensington). Royer, long a columnist for Midwest Gaming & Travel magazine and a familiar figure in other gambling publications, has undertaken the Herculean task of writing books on a variety of casino games in a very short period. Already released this year have been Powerful Profits books on craps, blackjack, slot machines and video poker, with Powerful Profits from Casino Games on its way next spring.
Royer treats casino games as much as an art form as an exercise in making the mathematically best plays. He doesn't ignore the math and the odds at all; he opens with a chapter on craps by the numbers before going into the basics of how to play the game, and follows with a chapter that labels the bets good, bad and ugly.
Contrary to most craps authors, Royer doesn't just discard the ugly bets. He incorporates low-percentage bets with big payoffs into his plan of attack.
Powerful Profits from Craps has the basics of a craps book for beginners - how to play; craps etiquette; tips on avoiding cheats and thieves, and the numbers on which bets have low house edges and which don't. His recommendations for hedge bets, hardways and other low-percentage bets will be controversial. This is a book for those who want to play by feel, not by the numbers.
Blackjack 6-7-8 Strategy Cards ($4.95, Stickysoft Corp.): I've been a fan of Stickysoft's Blackjack 6-7-8 software since its release in 2000. I reviewed it here then, and will be getting a good look at the updated version in the next few weeks - it arrived as I was writing this column.
In the meantime, I can tell you that I'm a fan of Stickysoft's new blackjack basic strategy cards. There are four cards in the series - one each for single-deck, double-deck and four-to-eight-deck games, and one with a four-to-eight-deck strategy adapted for card counters.
Each card is a laminated, tri-fold piece with six panels. Four panels are taken up with basic strategies for common rules combinations - reflecting whether the dealer hits soft 17 and whether players are permitted to double down after splitting pairs. The grid detailing correct decisions is color-coded for easy use.
The other two panels have discussion of playing decisions, basic strategy and the house edge. No doubt you've seen strategy cards before, but these are different, with much more information than the average card.
Masque Video Slots ($24.99, Masque Publishing). I often get e-mail from readers asking where they can get software that will allow them to play multiline video slot games with bonuses at home. Masque has been the prime provider with its Slots II and Slots from Bally Gaming, both of which include multiline video as well as three-reel games. Masque Video Slots goes entirely with multiline games. The 25 games on the disk include five Bally games and 20 designed by Masque.
I started with Bally's Sunset Beach, where landing three beach umbrellas on the screen launches a scene of starfish in the ocean, fading into a beach view looking down on umbrellas, then sand pails. Pick a sand pail, and if any of five spinning multicolored umbrellas stop on a color that matches your pail, it increases your bonus spins and multiplier.
I also tried Masque's Astro Bucks, with spaceships and asteroid symbols. The bonus bucks round uses symbols based on U.S. currency - space-suited George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin. It's all good, silly, video slot fun.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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