Hoops, Sonny Liston pack a punch

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Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz |

RME’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Workbook (242
pages, 8×11 plastic spiral-bound, $26) has arrived at Gambler’s Book Shop
along with an interesting biography written by Englishman Rob Steen titled Sonny
Liston: His Life, Strife and the Phantom Punch
(245 pages, paper bound,

College basketball has hundreds of teams from which bettors
can choose for wagers. For the serious player who looks at schedules, home court
advantage, conference play and the fatigue factor, keeping careful records can
be a matter of organization and patience or chaos and guessing.

The RME college book offers schedules, room to keep opening and closing
lines; the totals number should one be listed; the final score; how the team did
against the line and whether the game went over or under.

Plus, the book offers a quick summary of each team in 2007.

The book lists each team’s website address should you need
updated or additional material such as injuries and roster changes. Overall, a
fine time-saver for the price.

Boxing buffs and those who dwell on conspiracy theories
should enjoy Steen’s book on Liston, who last fought in 1970 and died under
questionable circumstances in Las Vegas a year later. The book discusses how the
sport of boxing changed radically in the 1960s and 70s and details the boxers,
their trainers and agents, the bettors and the impact of television.

Liston won 50 of his 54 fights. Although Liston’s widow
Geraldine refused to cooperate with the author on this book, officials, fighters
and friends did supply material. It’s an interesting read.

Indexed and illustrated, the book is as much about Liston as
the characters, the movers and shakers, the promoters operated, often not
fulfilling promises, especially when it came to the money.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler’s Book
Shop (Gambler’s Book Club). The store’s website is www.gamblersbook.com.
You may order via MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or by phoning
the store any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at
1-800-522-1777. Orders usually shipped the next working day.

The store, now in its 44th year, is located downtown, a block
west of Maryland Pkwy, just off Charleston Blvd. You may view the store’s
complete array of books, videos and software via the website or request a hard
copy of the catalog be mailed free and first class. The store’s address is 630
S. 11th St., Las Vegas, NV 89101.

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