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Interview with Andrew Glazer, Author of 'Casino Gambling the Smart Way'

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The amateur players who compose "the great gambling middle class" can prepare a better offensive attack on the casino by teaching themselves how to play their favorite games better. Our newest Hall of Fame guest, Andrew Glazer, gets to the very core of gambling in his new book to help you fare better on your Next Casino visit.

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Can you tell us a bit about your background?

"I've had three stretches in my life where my gambling has helped support me." I'm a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan and the Emory University School of Law (yes, I'm a recovered lawyer). I've taught at several colleges and universities, mostly law or business law classes, but I also taught a class called "Surviving the Casino" at Kennesaw State College in Atlanta, Georgia. I've had three stretches in my life where my gambling has helped support me. I was a professional backgammon player in the mid-1980s, and a professional poker player for a couple years in the 90s. Blackjack helped pay about half of my college and law school tuition. My current employment is President of Casino Conquests International, LLC, a gambling seminar and book publishing business dedicated to helping what I call "the great gambling middle class" (non-professionals and non-beginners) defend themselves better against casinos by teaching them how to play their favorite games better.

We don't promise to make everyone a winner--that's not realistic and I think an unethical promise--but we help people improve their results. Tell us about your book: "Casino Gambling the Smart Way". "It's a lot easier to get a little lucky than a lot lucky." My original title was "Casino Self-Defense," but the publisher changed it. I still think my original title conveys more of what I was trying to do: help people figure out their own personal goals and weaknesses, and then help them apply that knowledge to a gambling trip. It's 42 very short, self-contained chapters, so the book is easy to pick up and put down, and aside from a first-class gambling education, the book contains a lot of funny stories that make the lessons easier to remember. I wrote it because I saw a hole in the gambling book market. There are plenty of books for people with professional gambling aspirations, and plenty of beginner books which explain the rules, but not much else. But I didn't see too much for people who already knew how to find their way around a casino, but who had no interest in studying for weeks, months, or years to become a professional. So I wrote a book for the recreational player.

What are the three most common mistakes made by inexperienced gamblers?

1) They assume that if they are lucky they will win, and if unlucky they will lose. While there is certainly some truth in this statement, it hugely oversimplifies the situation. An inexperienced casino visitor will probably play many of the big house-edge games, like roulette or the money wheel. To win at one of those games, you have to get VERY lucky, and that's what the inexperienced visitor doesn't understand--that you have to get much luckier at some games than others. It's a lot easier to get a little lucky than a lot lucky. 2) They "bring X$ to lose;" e.g., "bring $400 to lose"-- a very good news/bad news kind of attitude. I like the loss-limiting aspect, but someone who "brings $400 to lose" will almost certainly reach that goal; because if you're planning on losing, there's no need to search out the better bets offered in the casino. A much better approach is setting a daily loss limit. It might sound like the same thing but it indicates a very different attitude. 3) They increase bet size during a losing streak--a sure way to go broke in a hurry!

What's your best advice to the inexperienced casino visitor?

The same as for any new activity: prepare a little before you start! It amazes me that people will risk hundreds or thousands of dollars, but won't invest $15 in a book that will give them a much better chance to win, or at least which will reduce their losses. (It's just a coincidence that "Casino Gambling the Smart Way" costs $15.) I first figured this out in poker, when I realized that most poker books cost much less than one pot. It seemed incredibly silly not to spend the money on the book if I were going to play. "It amazes me that people will risk hundreds or thousands of dollars, but won't invest $15 in a book that will give them a much better chance to win." On the other hand, spending money on a book does you no good if you don't read it, or if it's the wrong book. That's why I put a lot of effort into making "Smart Way" as easy-to-read and as funny as possible. Gambling is recreation; most people don't want to work hard preparing for it.

Do you gamble in virtual casinos?

I have played some Online Poker, but I haven't done any other virtual gambling yet. The whole scene still reminds me a bit of gambling in America's Wild Wild West days: you pays your money, you takes your chances. I want to wait until the industry shakes itself out a little more, until the online casinos have a bit more of a track record. I think services like CasinoWire and ThePrescription will help.

When it comes to gambling, what are the biggest differences between online and land-based casinos?

There are two huge differences. The obvious one is the easy access to online casinos: no driving, no hotel bills, etc. The other side of the same coin is that the online casinos don't have the casino atmosphere that makes playing such an enjoyable fantasy. The less obvious difference is that with a land-based casino, you can be 100% sure you'll get paid when you win. With an online casino, you can't be quite so sure. 99% of the time you're probably fine, but that last 1% really stinks. Since I like every conceivable edge going for me, I prefer land casinos, at least at the moment. The online casinos will be fine, eventually.

I also think there's a big difference between sports betting online and playing craps or blackjack online. The payoff risk aside, sports betting online is fine; it's no different from calling your bookie or making a bet in a sports book. but playing blackjack or craps for money online strikes me as a warning sign of a problem gambler. Depends on what I'm looking for. If I want a ritzy atmosphere, the Bellagio. If I want to stare at the cocktail waitresses, the Rio. If I want good slot machines, the "local" casinos like Sam’s Town. If I want good Blackjack Rules, I check before each trip, because that changes. For good poker, Binion's Horseshoe or the Mirage. A lot of experienced gamblers won't read books on casino gambling because they think they already know everything they need to know. I don't blame them for thinking this way. When I was researching, one casino book seemed much like another, and they almost all said the same things (which would have been useful to me when I was starting, but not now). "Casino Gambling the Smart Way" is different. Even if you are a professional, you will find new ways of looking at old ideas, and you will enjoy the stories. And you will laugh, I promise.

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