All about Roulette
John Gollehon

This one hit my doormat a few days ago, as a result of my picking up a copy on Ebay a week or so beforehand. Curiosity got me again I'm afraid. However, despite my expectations around what this might turn out to be, there were never going to be any risks of structural cracks appearing in the walls of the porch; physically it's about the same size and thickness as Mrs UK's Kindle gadget and runs to just 57 pages, including all of the publisher's particulars etc. So not so much a "book", as a pocket guide of sorts that can be read by people flying into Vegas or Atantic City who have never played the game or seen a roulette wheel in all of its polished glory before.

Back in 1985 when the title was first published, when most states of the Union didn't allow casino gaming and the internet was only available to geeky academic and technical types, there was probably a demand for something like this - a short, low cost ($4.99), quick read summary on how to play that could be digested by first time visitors to the two gambling meccas, so at least they knew what to expect before they got there. Nowdays though, I would think that the market for publications of this type is virtually dead, as all of this basic, and in many cases not-so-basic, information is available on the 'net for free. As such, and at best, this particular publication probably belongs in a museum of all things gambling.

Any bits that stand out, amongst what you might expect from a primer on the basics? One of the sections in the table of contents did catch my eye when opening the covers; IMPROVING THE ODDS. Hmmm . . . . more voodoo? No. Turning to this section it's simply a piece around the prudence of playing on a single-zero wheel if one is on offer (all the rest of the book is focussed on games using a double-zero wheel), or of seeking out a game where the "en-prison" rule is applied to a double-zero wheel - apparently fairly common in Atantic City at the time of publication although I suspect that such conditions, if still available, are now as common as rocking-horse shit. This section also contains a brief discussion around the practice of wheel clocking and dealer signatures.

Overall this title's pretty bland and uninspiring, although one should make allowances for the fact that it was published long before online gaming became available and everyone had the ability to play roulette on their mobile 'phones. Possibly the last line deserves a mention: "Remember what you're up against . . . over 200 years of profit for casinos all over the world". Quite right too.

All about Roulette was one of a series of similar titles authored by John Gollehon in the eighties (All about Craps, All about Blackjack etc), and is one of almost thirty gambling related titles to his name which were published up until 2012. He states that he now no longer writes on gambling related topics, and his latest offering is a revision of an earlier title he published via his own publishing company, The finding (published October 2012), which is not gambling related.

November 2015.

Footnote:   John Gollehon passed away on 20th June 2018 at the age of 72.