"Scoblete's new book depicts real world of dice influencing about as accurately as Hogan's Heroes depicted life in a World War II German POW camp."
That was my initial impression of Scoblete's new book which I posted on message board a few weeks back. Now I've had a chance to re-read book a couple of times and fully digest it. Fortunately, I acquired one of pre-release copies of book, gratis. I would have had a SERIOUS case of buyers remorse had I actually paid $24.95 for this 315 page hard cover dog.
My complete review follows.
I read a lot. I spend an hour and a half each work day on a train, so I go through books quickly. In my library, I have probably 40 to 50 books on craps specifically or gambling in general. In all gambling books I've read, I can unequivocally say that no matter how poorly written or conceived book was, I've always found some redeeming quality in book. The Craps Underground is exception. If a good gambling book is like a delicious filet mignon, this book is more akin to stuff they feed people on TV show, Fear Factor.
Let's start with ENTIRE title of book. The Craps Underground - The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Are Winning Millions from Casinos. Pure, unadulterated hype. For arguments sake, we'll assume that "Millions" means something more than one or two million, ten million would be a reasonable starting point, and it's at least implied that it also means millions in net profit. Last spring, Frank Scoblete estimated that there are fewer than 200 skilled "dice controllers" operating in US. By doing a little division, that would mean on average, those 200 dice "controllers" are taking down $50,000 in profits, each. Except for a few rather well bankrolled shooters, there is no evidence that average dice controller is showing that kind of profit. Yes, many dice influencers are consistently profitable but title alone, and I'll repeat myself here, is unadulterated hype.
So, now let's get into book a bit. Chapter one opens with Scoblete having a marathon winning session with dicecoach, Beau Parker. Here's how Scoblete describes session with dicecoach,
"...seven glorious hours shooting dice with a fellow dice controller and newfound friend known as 'Bodacious One,' Beau Parker."
This session, and these warm expressions of friendship for dicecoach occurred just a few months prior to formation of GTC. I'll get back to that later.
Let's dive a little further into this drivel. In early chapters, we get to hear Scoblete wax poetically about "the Captain," again. Yawn.... hasn't he beaten that horse to death yet? Then he introduces various future members of GTC organization. Apparently, these guys never lose! Or if they do happen to have a poor session, it is quickly followed by a miraculous comeback. AMAZING! There are a couple of chapters on "The Lee Brothers." These two chapters are almost engaging. Except for one thing. OF COURSE "The Lee Brothers" coincidentally have read all of Scoblete's books, and religiously play like captain. Subtle as a freight train, that Scoblete.
There's a chapter on Las Vegas Craps Festival which I participated in. Scoblete briefly mentions me here, and he certainly had opportunity to take some shots at me if he wanted to. Surprisingly he didn't though, for whatever reason. However, he did misrepresent what I discussed that day. Here's what he had to say about me.
"Irishsetter has strong opinions."
Well, he got THAT part right but later went on to say,
"In fact, Irishsetter made a strong pitch that people shouldn't be paying or charging to learn dice control, that all information should be free."
In all actuality, I said nothing of sort. The gist of my discussion was twofold. One, that aspiring dice influencers should learn as much as possible for free, or as cheaply as they can, and two, that there is no one single correct philosophy on how to set, grip and throw dice. My opinion today is no different. If you're interested, I have an article on dicesetter.com which goes further into my discussion that day called, The "Missing" Tape - The Article. My guess is that given opportunity, Scoblete didn't want to take any obvious shots at me, but instead chose to misrepresent my discussion in an attempt to embarrass me since I do occasionally participate in seminars. What IS missing in book, is what Scoblete talked about that day. One of major points of his discussion was that dice influencers would soon begin to experience kind of heat that card counters get if they didn't go "underground." It seems Scoblete had a change of heart. Either that, or his definition of going "underground" is hyping dice influencing in books, holding seminars in casinos, and advertising dice control on radio and in newspapers and magazines.
Blah, blah, blah. Several chapters not even worth mentioning.
OK, what's next. Scoblete raids Jerry Patterson's PARR organization of most of coaching staff and Golden Touch Craps is born. Despite fact that I'm intimately knowledgeable about many of personalities involved here, these chapters are about as interesting as watching hibernating bears. I have to give Scoblete credit though. He mentions his GTC staff and as many hangers on in GTC periphery as often as possible. Why? Because average Joe will think it's really "neat" that Frank Scoblete put them in his book. Pathetic? Yes. But, those folks in periphery will go out on amazon.com, buy multiple copies of book, and write a glowing review so their friends will buy it and see their names in print. Oh Boy!