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American Mensa Guide To Casino Gambling: Winning Ways Paperback – December 31, 1999
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
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From Library Journal
Only the top two percent of scorers on a standardized intelligence test qualify for membership in American Mensa, Ltd.; on the other hand, casino gambling involves games of chance with a built-in return for the establishment. Once a machine that issues randomly sequenced numbers is plugged in, does a genius have a better chance than you? "The indisputable reason for following basic strategy," the author writes, "is that the mathematicians and the computers have proven it's the right way to go." Mathematical theories, however, are commonly destroyed in the real gambler's world, where fate and intuition reign and, for example, the chances that dice will come up "snake eyes" three times (a 1/10,000 shot) does not improve with the player's intelligence. The book's attitude toward card counting also shows a brainy overconfidence, since all counting is based on the pretense that the counter will "know" when the deck is rich. When gambling, who really cares that out of every thousand dollars wagered the casino's percentage is X? A real-world gambling equation is igorance equals bliss. Libraries needing a new basic text would be better served by Basil Nestor's The Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling (LJ 8/99).
-Marty Soven, Woodside, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
The book contains a few introductory chapters followed by 12 chapters devoted to common casino games (followed by a few misc. chapters at the end). It's very straightforward and takes a no-nonsense approach, backed by statistics/probability, to disect each game. For each casino game, the book tells you what the odds are if you play 'by the book', and describes various strategies for playing. In my opinion, this book (or a similar work) is a MUST if you are a beginning gambler and will probably be very useful if you are an intermediate level gambler. It's easy to understand, but at the same time it isn't dumbed down, so should remain a useful reference for all but the most serious/knowledgable gamblers.
I purchased this book primarily to learn blackjack, and specifically to learn basic strategy. The Blackjack chapter is very well laid out and should allow a beginner to learn basic strategy in a fairly short period of time, as it did in my case. If you play blackjack (or plan to play) and don't know basic strategy (or worse - don't know what basic strategy is!) then this book is an absolute must. I feel like I got my money's worth out of the blackjack chapter alone, with the rest of the book a very much appreciated added bonus.
Pros: Fun to read, technical enough to be interesting for beginners and intermediate gamblers, large amount of information in one book.
Cons: If you're a regular at the casino, have played for years, and have read other books involving gambling this book may just be an enjoyable read, but not very informative.