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So called 'Casino Experts' and their books

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These days it seems that anybody who has made more than two trips to a casino calls himself a 'casino expert' and has written a book on how to win. I'm willing to bet there is more than one gambling book out there written by an idiot who never even saw the inside of a casino. One pundit with a hardcover book on wagering, bearing the imprint of a major publisher, writes about betting at the Sands in Las Vegas with $50 chips. Maybe this asshole ducked into the Sands to use the Men's Room, but I guarantee he didn't stay long enough to look at the chi ps on the tables. No $50 denomination chips exist or ever existed in any Vegas Casino. Not ever.

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Mark Twain once quipped, "It isn't what people don't know that'll hurt them, it's what they do know that just ain't so."

Another "expert," writing on how to beat the slot machines, gives the reader a hot tip: Always play the slots on the aisle, as these are the ones the casino have set to be loose so the passersby will be seduced into playing because it looks so easy to win. The only thing wrong with this "inside tip" is that it's false. All the slots in all the casinos are blindly computer-controlled with respect to the winning combinations, so one slot machine is as good or as bad as the next. And I've read in more than one gambling book written by a self-anointed "expert" that the machines at the top, or end, of the aisle are the ones that pay off best. Total applesauce. The machines in between are just as likely to pay off as the ones at either end.

Another so-called expert, this one on blackjack, advises the reader with great authority to always take insurance, and to take advantage of "surrender" when offered. In reality, both are piss-poor moves for a player. Still another self-styled expert on playing the craps table gave in his book the odds on Place and Come bets on the numbers, except he gave incorrect odds!

Always remember that just because something is in a book, that doesn't mean it's correct.

All the information in this book, in regard to things that I personally was connected with, is the Real McCoy. I give you my personal guarantee on that. On stories that I picked up from the media I usually identify my sources, and I've saved all the clippings whenever I could, so I can back up my reports as far as they go. Want proof? You can write me in care of the publisher and I'll send you documentation where available.

Not every author is so careful in checking sources. Years ago I sat down with a friend of mine who was writing a book on literary censorship, and I let him pick my brain. I pride myself on being very knowledgeable on the subject. Knowledgeable yes, but, as it turned out, not infallible. Somewhere along the way I had learned of the existence of a pornographic operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan, commissioned by Queen Victoria entitled The Sod's Opera. The original manuscript was reported to be safeguarded in a locked bookcase in the British Museum's Private Cabinet. This x-rated piece was said to have typically clever Gilbert & Sullivan characters such as Scrotum, An Old Retainer, The Bollox Brothers, "A Pair of Hangers-on at the Court. . . ." You get the picture. Without checking, my friend put it all into his book.

Twenty-five years later, I have seen it reprinted in more than a dozen books, here and abroad. The only problem is that the x-rated operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan doesn't exist! A couple of years after the book was published I met the world's foremost authority on Gilbert & Sullivan, who informed me that the story was pure hoax.

This is why you have to be wary of information that you read in a book, especially in a gambling book.

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