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Best of John Grochowski
On My Gambling Bookshelf12 April 2000
A new Frank Scoblete book is always a treat, and so it is with his latest, Baccarat Battle Book.
Scoblete is a showman as well as a gambler, a former actor who knows entertainment as well as he knows odds and percentages. In 203-page softcover Baccarat Battle Book ($12.95, Bonus Books), the entertainment, odds and percentages are all there. It's widely available in bookstores, and also can be ordered from this site by clicking on the link above.
Cautions against overbetting, whether for the sake of comps or to impress the cocktail waitress, become "The Seven Deadly Sins of Gambling." Slowing down the game to reduce your exposure to the house edge becomes "The Yawn and Yabber Approach to Baccarat."
Solid advice, and Scoblete makes it fun.
As for the game itself, baccarat is at its core a guessing game. Which hand will be closer to 9, banker or player? Hit/stand decisions are made according to the rules of the game. There are no player options that can affect the outcome. It's really pretty simple: Banker is a slightly better bet than player, and both are much better than betting on tie.
So what's left for the analyst to write about? Scoblete finds plenty. There's a nifty piece of advice on how to narrow the house edge by getting the casino to accept a 4 percent commission on winning banker bets instead of the standard 5 percent. I'll not steal Scoblete's thunder and detail it here, and not every casino will allow the ploy, but when it's accepted the house edge plummets from 1.17 percent to 0.67 percent.
There's lots more, including why big baccarat is a better game than mini-bac, betting systems, playing the streaks, comps, card counting and interviews with experts Henry Tamburin and John May.
As always, Scoblete's advice is right on the money, and he makes it as much fun to read as it is play.
SEVEN OUT: Another fun little book that crossed my desk recently is A Guide to Craps Lingo, 72 pages in softcover by Chris Fagans and David Guzman.
Subtitled "From Snake Eyes to Muleteeth," this one's for anyone who's ever been amused - or confused - by the stickman's calls at the craps table.
Try this one for a 5 and 2 adding up to a loser 7: "Cinco, dos and adios." Or for a 3 and a 1: "Baskin Robbins, 3-1 flavors." Or for 8 the hard way - two 4s - "Ozzie and Harriet, the square pair."
As for the subtitle, most of us know snake eyes as two 1s. Muleteeth? Two 6s.
A Guide to Craps Lingo retails for $9.95.
CASINO GUIDE: The 2000 edition of Steve Bourie's annual American Casino Guide is bigger and better than ever. It's a whopping 400-page softcover that also includes 60 coupons for discounts and perks at casinos across the United States.
The core of the book is its listings for every casino in the country, complete with addresses, phone numbers, Web sites, casino size, games offered, number of rooms, number of restaurants, buffet prices and other amenities. It also serves as a pretty good guide to gambling, with essays by Bourie, Anthony Curtis, Henry Tamburin, Jean Scott, Bob Dancer, Tom Ski and others. Yes, I'm in there too.
Coupons are a little slim in the Midwest - 2-for-1 buffets at Harrah's East Chicago, Casino Queen in East St. Louis and the President Casino by the Arch in St. Louis - but travelers will find plenty for Nevada and the South.
Steve Bourie has his own website, www.americancasinoguide.com. The guide is a tool I keep front and center in my home office. It's rare that a week goes by without my referring to it. It's an invaluable resource for those who travel to casinos outside their home areas.
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.
Best of John Grochowski