Gaming books for moms who want to play

May 5, 2009 5:07 PM
Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz |

We all know that ladies gamble and one of those ladies is probably your mother. If your mom’s a serious player she might even have taught you the ropes. But, if she’s a dabbler, someone who plays the slots or video poker only, maybe she would like to hit the 21 or craps tables or even bet the ponies.

Occasionally we find players (particularly mature women who haven’t been exposed to casino gambling) a bit reluctant to venture into the casino pit because they have many questions and so little time to find the answers. If your mother fits this description, why not get her a beginner’s book. You can also slip a $20 bill in there as a bookmark, along with a gift card.

Here are some suggested titles and a brief description of each.

Break The One-Armed Bandits (178 pages, paperbound, 12.95). Frank Scoblete does an excellent job of explaining how machines work here. He analyzes some myths and angles, discusses superstitions, explains money management, discusses loose vs. tight machines and explains the slang terminology of slots.

Beginner’s Best Shot at Video Poker by Bob Maxwell (96 pages, paperbound, $7.95) focuses only on the original video poker game known as jacks or better, but the sample hands, card values and explanations of why certain starting hands are better than others, makes this an easy text to handle in less than an hour.

Quick and Easy Texas Hold’em by Neil Myers (210 pages, paperbound, $19.95) includes an instructional DVD, providing extra reinforcement of poker concepts. Myers explains the game’s basics, including which hands to play, when and how to play them, the etiquette of the game, with much emphasis on low-limit play.

Win, Place and Show by Betsy Berns (219 pages, paperbound, $9.95). Many women have an interest in thoroughbred racing but figuring out how to choose a contender worth a wager could be foreign to them. Some need help understanding the Racing Form and the terminology of the game, figuring how to handicap is in itself a handicap. This book covers all the basics and does it well enough that a rank beginner can go to the betting window with confidence after reading it.

Craps–Take the Money and Run by Henry Tamburin (127 pages, paperbound, $11.95). For smart ladies who like a little excitement in their gambling, craps is just the ticket. However, the novice probably needs an explanation of the smart bets, the odds, the role of those who run the game and the terms used such as right or wrong bettor, odds and proposition bets. Tamburin’s text is designed for the beginner. It includes an illustration of a craps layout and a dictionary of craps language. It has sold well for 15 years.

Finally, we might be guessing as to what game Mom does want to learn or experiment with. So why not get her one book with 10 different games described? Easy Money–Your Guide to Beating 10 Casino Games by Avery Cardoza (121 pages, paperbound, $5) might be considered a "best buy" for the price. The games he covers are blackjack, craps, slots, video poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, keno, poker, baccarat and roulette. It’s fairly large print, with many charts and tables and will fit in a purse or handbag.

These books and more are available from Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club) in Las Vegas. The store’s web site is Or call toll free at 1-800-522-1777.