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Best of John Grochowski
Some great gambling books3 January 2013
I’d doing it now with Glen Wiggy’s “1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors" ($18.95, iUniverse). Subtitled “Finding Profit and Humor in Card-Counting,” Wiggy’s work includes how to play, blackjack terminology, basic strategy and an explanation of how to count cards. The card-counting section includes some graphics that will be helpful to beginners, depicting full tables of cards along with the plus-1, minus-one and zero designations for keeping a running count.
If that was the main thrust of the book, you wouldn’t be reading about it now. There are many more detailed card-counting primers on the market. But while the route toward gaining an edge on the house is important to “1536 Free Waters,” the heart and soul are the stories of Wiggy’s more than 800 casino visits from 2001-2008.
I chuckled when Wiggy told of handing his dad a stack of $25 chips, telling him it was a small down payment on all he’d learned from him. It felt all warm and fuzzy -- until his dad misplayed a hand.
An all-too familiar feeling came over me when a couple asked him for advice -- then refused to believe what they were hearing. And yes, there are 1,536 free bottles of water mixed in with the tales of angry pit bosses, difficult customers and the odd seagull.
There are lessons embedded in many of the tales, making this a laugh while you learn experience.
There’s even a horse racing presence, though no real tips. Without giving too much away, let’s just say a knack for betting on horses that don’t finish the race is no sound basis for an optimal strategy.
When I travel, I make good use of the coupons in the back of the book. There are more than 100 offers for discounts on rooms, rental cars, meals, show and drinks, along with some for free play or match play. The largest share of coupons are from Las Vegas resorts, but New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi and other gaming states are represented.
I’ll admit to a bias, but I like and use the Guide every year.
GUIDE APP: Along with the updated book, the American Casino Guide has announced the release of a free app for iPhones and iPads. Bourie demonstrated a working version for me in October at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, and it was impressive.
One you can search for casinos by name or location, or you can use a “casinos nearby” feature to find all casinos with 100 miles of your location, complete with turn-by-turn directions.
Mirroring the how-to-play features of the book, the app can take you to any of 35 How to Gamble videos, which have generated more than 1.7 million hits on YouTube. There are casino reviews by casino cusomers, and for bargain hunters, there are more than 200 offers of comps or discounts.
For more information or to download the app, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/american-casino-guide/id574179564?mt=8
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at casinoanswerman.com.
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Best of John Grochowski