For as long as I remember I have been reading myself to sleep and it really don't matter what the material is. Sometimes I will find a long novel, preferably history or biographical and because I am a regular at the Gamblers Book Store, many of the books are gaming related. Truth is, many of the books that I read on sports wagering is more for entertainement than anything else because when it comes to handicapping, I have always prefered experience as the best source of knowledge, as well as asking questions to someone who I know for fact is certified to answer...almost like reading a great poker book may help you by making you discuss different levels of thinking, but it can't replace what you will learn when sitting in a game.
Anyway, this week I have been battling the flu something aweful and since I didn't really leave the house, I had an opportunity to read and I went to my bookshelves to grab a book and I noticed a copy of a book that I read a couple of years ago. The book was written by Chad Millman and is titled THE ODDS "One Season, Three Gamblers, and the Death of Their Las Vegas"...and I decided that I would read it again because I remembered that I had really enjoyed it when I originally had purchased and read it.
This book follows the lives of 3 very different people who are all connected to the same industry..."Sports Wagering"....The one is Joe Lupo, who was the main man at the "Dust" during the glory years of "wiseguys" and I am not talking about gangsters, I am refering to those guys who bet the kind of money, and get the kind of information that moves the lines everywhere for every single bettor...because they win. Joe Lupo is someone who I actually got a chance to know because I was in that book so often and it depicts how the bookmakers had to deal with the rise of the off-shore books and how he went to war each day with the sharps. Its a very accurate portrait of Joe Lupo and an even more accurate account of some of the things that went on behind the scenes each and every day that so many people aren't aware of. The decisions made on point-spreads and the predictions of what the runners will do when the lines go up are many of the things that both he and Bob Scucci, his right hand at the time dealt with daily.
The next person of interest followed in this book is Alan Boston. Another guy who I have probably seen 100s of times at different books through the years and actually a really genuine guy. He is a handicapper who has done very well for himself at times and had developed a reputation back then for being extremely sharp when it came to college basketball. He bets his own plays and also has access to what most of the sharps in town and elsewhere are doing. The book follows Alan during the college season and throughout he tells a lot of interesting stories about his years as a professional sports bettor.
The third is a college student from Wisconsin who realized that his life's dream is to become a professional sports bettor and after finally getting up the nerve, he and his girlfriend move out here to Las Vegas and they try to make a life for themselves. The book also follows this young man through his first attempt of becoming a pro sports bettor and how he tries to become successful at it and live out his dream.
I do not want to ruin how it all turns out but this truely is not only a very entertaining book, but more importantly, its also a very accurate account of the industry during those years. I think that is why I like this books so much. Because that was the exact time that I was a runner here in Vegas and I could actually see so much of what is written in my mind and picture perfectly when they discuss the lottery at the Dust and so many other things. Even stranger, I can actually remember many of those very games that they are refering to in the book and I could now picture Lupo's reaction behind the teller wall at the Dust, which I couldn't see at that time.
This book also gives a very good account of what I call the "Transitional Period" for Sports Betting...it was right when the off-shore books exploded and the Vegas books were left behind. That was the time that I witnessed first hand because it spelled the end of my career as a runner since I wasn't really needed anymore on the Strip and it was the time when the sportsbook industry changed forever with the way they were now going to try and battle the sharps. Maybe because I was around and felt like I was in the middle of all of that which makes me enjoy this books each time I read it. Regardless, I truely urge anyone who wagers on sports to take the time to check this book out. It may not make you a better handicapper or increase your Win%, but it will allow anyone, no matter where they live...to get an excellent understanding of how a lot of what goes on in the market actually happened. More importantly, this is also the period of time when so much changed for the oddsmakers and as a pro sports bettor, I can tell you that a thorough understanding has definately helped me so much when dealing with today's market. So when you get a chance, treat yourself to a great book for a sports bettor...."The Odds".