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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Million Dollar Video Poker by Bob Dancer

Since Fyodor Dostoevsky there hasn't been anything written about gambling that can be called literature with a straight face.  This book is no exception.  I have a fairly large collection of gambling books, most of them are about Poker, there was a time in my life when being a professional gambler was my dream job, now I'm old enough to appreciate the benefits of health insurance and the kind of company my corporate job provides, I haven't ruled out playing poker as a serious hobby but overtime when it's available is just much more profitable.

Bob Dancer is a pseudonym, many gambling books are written by people who are fully in kayfabe.  The reasons they describe are firstly because they play a dangerous game with the casinos, they don't want to play with a winning player, and also other players, who don't want to talk to you about how they win if their name is going to be mentioned.  Because of this though the writing falls below any kind of journalistic standard.  This book includes gems like "When I asked several High-Limit players if they were surprised that the Venetian rigged drawings every one of them said they were not suprised at all."  As you can see the writing offered is well below the standards that would be acceptable for publishing outside the gambling world, Bob alludes to having a Phd in economics, or at least he says he did Phd work, but his writing doesn't seem to meet even a minimum community college writing 101 standard.

Now I'm not being tough on Bob, he's published and I'm not, and he's writing in a genre where the bar is set by people who come up with "systems" to beat roulette and craps.  Besides the fact that he's not pouring on the punch you in the face vocabulary of Palahniuk or the careful sourcing of a journalist doesn't mean I hated this book.  All I'm saying is that if you read it be prepared to snicker at time to time at some of the more outrageous statements and the clunky pacing.

So "Bob" tells the story of how he moved to Vegas with $6000 and with a combination of coupon hustling, low stakes blackjack counting and perfect video poker play because the best known video poker writer in Vegas.  He loved and lost, loved and lost and loved again, and all the time kept his bankroll under tight control.  It's a thrilling tale and one of those Las Vegas stories that I love, however it's probably the one that's turned me off of any kind of desire to be a casino gambler on a pro level.  Basically it appears that the best odds and slot clubs are usually found in casinos that need the business, and places that need the business are not the places that you want to take your kids.  My kids love going to Vegas more than anywhere else but now that they're old enough to ask why that man is puking in the garbage can I'm probably past the days when I can stay off the strip and call it a family vacation.

So Bob, thanks for the read and the wake up call, I guess I'll go back to work in my cubicle where I feel like a high roller.

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.