Ten great gambling-related books for holiday gifts

Shane Smith November 10, 2012 0

If you’re in doubt about a holiday gift for a friend, relative or business acquaintance who has and interest in gaming, here are some suggestions that will win you much gratitude.

The Stardust of Yesterday by Heidi Rinella (183 pages, hardbound, $39.95). Anyone who remembers the now-closed and soon-to-be imploded Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas will enjoy the nostalgia, the pictures and the memories in this coffee-table formatted work. From 1958 (when the hotel was opened by Tony Cornero) to modern times, this was the place to be, for the shows, the showgirls, the sportsbook and its characters. Magnificently illustrated in color the book is filled with bits of history, old photos of the famous and infamous, providing a look at the old and new Vegas.

Bluegrass Days Neon Nights by John Smith (251 pages, hardbound, $24.95). Smith has written a rollicking story of Las Vegas host Dan Chandler who peopled his world with an endless parade of colorful gamblers, entertainers, politicians and high rollers. Indexed and illustrated in color, the work gives you a glimpse at how Caesars Palace operated in its heydays; why a “marriage” of boxing and Las Vegas is an ideal combination to generate income and how a host truly operates at the highest level.

No Limit Hold ‘Em (Theory and Practice) by David Sklansky and Ed Miller (317 pages, paperbound, $29.95). Truly, this was THE book professional players waited for in 2006, from two of the best poker authors and theorists in the world. The work covers critical concepts like manipulating pot size, reading hands and manipulating players to play badly; it can be used in cash games and tournaments.

Fortune’s Formula by William Poundstone (386 pages, paperbound, $15). The story of the Kelly Criterion (betting a percentage of bankroll at the right time to find an edge), through the experiences of Ed Thorp (blackjack great who wrote Beat the Dealer and who is most respected in the stock market); sports bettors and thoroughbred handicappers as well as respected names in economics and anyone who values money.

American Casino Guide (2007) by Steve Bourie (494 pages, paperbound, $16.95). Here’s a fine combination of being a directory of casinos state by state (with maps, phone numbers, directions, amenities, prices, web sites) and more than 100 pages of discount coupons for rooms, rides, meals, souvenir gifts, rental cars, match play table action and shows. Most of the coupons are for use in Las Vegas.

Roll The Bones (The History of Gambling) by David Schwartz (no relation to the reviewer) (570 pages, hard bound, $30). Twenty-one chapters, illustrated, well-indexed–marvelous bibliography for future researchers, this covers the earliest days of gambling and risk taking, from a historical, sociological and economic standpoint in the United States and internationally. A must for anyone who writes about the industry, works within it as management or who plans a career anywhere in the country or outside it related to gambling.

Going For Broke (The Depiction of Compulsive Gambling in Film) by Jeffrey Dement (192 pages, hard bound, $52.50). This is a very special book for anyone who plans a career as a writer, producer of a movie or documentary related to problem gambling and how Hollywood has treated the subject from the silent film days to modern times. Analyzes movie plots from some of the greatest films made with a gambling or risk-taking theme.

Read ‘Em and Reap by Phil Hellmuth and Joe Navarro (213 pages, paperbound, $18.95). A career FBI agent’s guide to poker tells make this one of the best poker book bargains of the decade. By understanding your tells and those of your opponents, you’ll save money, make money and regain the price of this work within a few sessions. Well-illustrated and indexed, it picks up where Caro’s Book of Poker Tells left off. A must-have for any level player.

The Video Poker Edge (How to Play Smart and Bet Right) by Linda Boyd (150 pages, paperbound, $17.95). A guide to playing one of the hottest games ever to hit the casino, Boyd’s book explains the basics and introduces you to the eight commonly available games, then helps you identify the good games from the bad. Boyd presents strategies and money management techniques and explains how to take full advantage of casino comps and promotions. Includes removable strategy cards.

Casino Craps for Rookies by Mike Sherman (96 pages, paperbound, $12.95). A nice larger-print beginner’s book with explanations, illustrations of how to get started; becoming a good player including the four smart bets and understanding the casino’s edge; how to combine odds bets with smart bets and an explanation of most of the popular bets and props the game offers.

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