ROULETTE Playing To Win
Tony Korfman

This is the other half of the two book lot I won on EBay recently - both part of a 1985 series of gambling titles written by the late Tony Korfman. Again this one, dedicated to Roulette, is a coffee break read of less than fifty 5"x7" pages and my one is the fourth reprint which was printed eighteen years after the original hit the book-stands. Having been produced in the States what's written leans heavily towards double-zero wheels and their horrendous 5.26% house edge.

Any good? Hmmm . . . Half of the fifty odd pages are about the different types of combination bets that can be made and their payoffs if successful, and the other half is largely about systems and why they don't work, a couple of paragraphs on money management and then a glossary of terms followed by a list of other gambling related titles available from the publisher. That's it - about ten minutes reading at the outside. As for "humourous" I don't think there's any need to put a surgeon on standby in case your sides split as you digest the contents. Overall then a pretty so-so effort (IMHO), and I do wonder just how long it took Mr K to knock out the first draft?

Going back to the mid to late eighties, there must have been a demand for this sort of thing as John Gollehon did similar and published a series of lightweight (in both size and content) pocket books on different casino games, and John Patrick also published some iffy works as parts of two series of casino gaming titles - albeit they had a great many more pages between the covers. More recently, in the nineties and noughties, Frank Scoblete's gambling related literary efforts have contributed to reducing the planet's tree count. Assuming then that the publishers' market analysis and sales projections undertaken at the time were sound, there must have been a firm commercial rationale for funding all of the costs associated with getting a new title in to the nation's retail bookstores, and that these prospects were a goer? Who knows? In this day and age however, I suspect these sorts of limited interest titles are going to remain permanently part of distributors' print-on-demand portfolios - where a copy is only produced on receipt of a paid order.

Tony Korfman spent his adult working life working in the casino industry in the US, and after retiring joined the pro-poker circuit - clocking up a very respectable US$355K in documented tournament winnings along the way. He wrote other titles as part of his "Playing To Win" series covering blackjack, baccarat, the slots, craps, keno and video poker as well as his more recent 389 page Texas Holdem: Tournaments, Cash Games and Embarrassing Social Gas which was published in 2007. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 71.

May 2021.