Arnold Snyder's review of Richard W. Munchkin's Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers
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Review of Gambling Wizards

 
Arnold Snyder reviews Richard W. Munchkin's Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers
 
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Review of Richard W. Munchkin's Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers

By Arnold Snyder

I will state without any reservations that Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers is one of the best books on professional gambling I have ever read. Rather than seek out the "big names" in gambling—the most well-known authors—Munchkin chose his interviewees purely on the basis of their accomplishments (read winnings) in the gambling world. Every one of these "Wizards" is worthy of the label. These are all players with 20+ years of success, who bet on a level that most of us don’t dare to even fantasize about.

There’s the legendary Billy Walters, one of the founders and driving forces behind "The Computer Group," a sports betting phenomenon that crushed the casino sports books throughout the 80s. At their prime, they were betting $3-$5 million per weekend on football games. Walters, who now owns nine golf courses, is also notable as the high roller who beat the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City for $3.8 million at roulette after discovering that one of their wheels was biased.

There’s Chip Reese, who blew into Las Vegas shortly after finishing college, and happened upon a high-low split poker game with the biggest players in town. After watching the game for a short while, he realized that these poker legends, including Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, and Puggy Pearson, among others, didn’t really know how to play this game! As Reese had played a lot of high-low split in college, he bravely bought into the game and systematically beat his idols out of $350,000!

And there’s Mike Svobodny, who at the age of 48, has never been married, has no home (not even an apartment), no car, lives day-to-day in hotels, and never stops traveling. Sounds like your typical hobo, except that Svobodny plays backgammon for hundreds of thousands of dollars, earns millions per year, hobnobs with princes and Arab sheiks, and has more money than he knows what to do with.

Cathy Hulbert started out playing blackjack with some of the biggest teams in the 70s and 80s, traveled the world as a card counter until she got tired of the never-ending harassment, moved to Las Vegas were she started a team of geriatric slot players to milk the big progressive jackpots (she required her players to be 70+ years of age to avert casino suspicions that they might be pros!), and finally landed in Southern California where she now makes her living as a professional poker player.

Alan Woods plays the horses on a level that would shame most of the big name authors and experts in this field into admitting they are low-stakes grinders in comparison. He has been winning more than $100 million per year using the computer handicapping system he devised with some fellow ex-card counters.

This book will open your eyes to the way the top pros think, the way they look at opportunities, and the way they look at the world. I cannot recommend any book more highly for an aspiring professional player. The stories these Wizards tell are funny, crazy, incredible, and true. ♠

Get Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers now.

For more stories about the achievements of the greatest professional gamblers, include many who refused to be interviewed for Gambling Wizards, see The Big Book of Blackjack by Arnold Snyder.

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