Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling

Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling

by John Scarne


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671630638
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 08/28/1986
Edition description: REV
Pages: 896
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.16(h) x 2.13(d)

First Chapter

Chapter 1

Gambling: America's Biggest Industry


Gambling in the United States, despite all the Federal and state restrictions against it, is the leading industry in the country, both in the number of participants and the amount of money involved. Its handle surpasses the combined total money volume of the 100 largest industrial organizations in the country, including such giant corporations as U.S. Steel, General Motors, General Electric, Metropolitan Life, Ford Motor Company and any others you care to name. Today about 90 million adult Americans -- of whom 43 million are men and 47 million are women -- are gambling the astronomical sum of $500 billion annually.

Almost 90% or $450 billion of this huge amount is wagered illegally; only $50 billion legally.

The number of illegal gambling operators in America, race bookies, operators of Poker and dice games, etc., has been reduced with the enactment and enforcement of additional Federal interstate antigambling laws. This loss of gambling revenue has been more than made up by gigantic increases in other forms of gambling: (1) The Numbers game, despite Federal and state police harassment, has increased considerably in participants and money wagered. (2) The huge national interest in sports generated by television (football, basketball, hockey, etc.) has resulted in billions of fresh dollars being bet among gamblers and with illegal sports bookies. (3) The legalization of many state race and dog tracks, lotteries, raffles, Bingo games and off-track betting has contributed hundreds of millions more to the national betting handle.

Gambling, in general, is a constant growingindustry, increasing the number of participants and gambling handle, except for some occasional economically "bad" years. There is no doubt in anyone's mind, that is, if he gets around at all, that gambling is big business. How big? Nobody knows exactly. As for me, I'll stick with my nationwide gambling survey of a few years ago, which revealed a yearly gambling handle of over $500 billion, a figure which has since been accepted by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Gambling Investigations, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.

Note that this $500 billion handle does not represent gambling industry income or profits; it is the annual gambling exchange. It is all the money handled; it is the total amount wagered. Many of the dollars in the $500 billion are duplications because they are bet and rebet back and forth many times between players, and between players and gambling operators, before they are finally won or lost.

Of the $500 billion handle, the actual cost to the betting public for their yearly gambling pleasure -- the annual gambling revenue from all forms of gambling -- amounts to about 10% of the $500 billion, for a gross revenue of $50 billion. Of this, an average of 60% or $30 billion goes for building and maintenance of gambling establishments. Examples: upkeep of racetracks, Las Vegas hotel casinos, Poker rooms and Bingo parlors. This leaves $20 billion as the nation's net gambling revenue. The $20 billion is divided almost equally between (1) professional or organized gambling and (2) private gambling. The $10 billion yearly net revenue from all forms of organized gambling includes betting, both legal and illegal, at the various types of banking games such as Craps, Black Jack, slot machines, Roulette, casino side games, carnival games, and punchboards; with race and sports bookies; in lotteries, Bingo, baseball and football pools, Keno, raffles, Numbers and all other forms of gambling in which a professional operator or banker is involved. The $10 billion yearly net revenue of private gambling entails illegal betting among friends, acquaintances and strangers at all kinds of card games (Poker, Gin Rummy, Black Jack, Skarney, Pinochle, Bridge, Canasta, etc.), at Craps, Scarney Dice and other dice games, at guessing games and sports and at any other form of illegal gambling in which a professional operator or banker is not involved.

The recipients of this $20 billion annual net gambling income include the millions of male and female gamblers who possess some sort of edge over the others. They are the operators of gambling schemes, the experienced or skilled gamblers, gambling hustlers and cheats and racketeers and their henchmen who are the behind-the-scenes bosses of most of file illegal and some of the legal gambling activities in this country. Also included among this group, since they derive income from gambling, are the unscrupulous law-enforcement agents and politicians who accept graft to permit illegal gambling to operate free of police interference.

Strange but true, most of the above group including the so-called "smart gamblers" have one thing in common with the average gambling chump. They can't resist gambling at someone else's game, or even their own, and in turn they recontribute several billions of their annual new gambling profit to the $20 billion annual take.


My lifetime of study of all forms of bigtime illegal gambling operations reveals that it is not controlled by the mythical Mafia or by any single mob or syndicate. This is, of course, contrary to what many racketeers, Federal and state law-enforcement agencies, Federal and state district attorneys, judges, legislators, politicians, television programs, books, magazines and newspapers keep saying. What rubbish! First, there is no such an animal as the Mafia. Secondly, such statements by these sources -- some of which are ill advised, others for ethnic reasons and some for personal gain -- are welcomed by the real mobster bosses, especially when their names appear in print as Mafia figures. It's good for their business. It puts fear in the hearts of people they deal with and makes their money deals and collections much easier to achieve.

Most major news sources and many book authors in this country seem to have a policy of labeling every arrested gambler big or small who has an Italian name as a member of the Mafia, and those gamblers who do not possess Italian names as non-voting Mafia members. But the truth of the matter is that most towns and hamlets have their own racket bosses who control the local gambling and seldom team up with any outside operators. Occasionally a few racket bosses using fronts may become partners in purchasing a casino in Europe, the Caribbean or elsewhere, but there is no single mob or syndicate that controls gambling throughout the United States. Las Vegas, Nevada, the biggest gambling bonanza in history, is the best example of the non-existence of the Mafia. Check the names of the old and the present-day operators and you find very few so-called "Mafia names." The same holds true for the casino managers, shift bosses and other major casino employees.

Professional gamblers and race and sports bookies should not be confused with mobsters or racket guys. Generally speaking, race and sports bookies or operators of Poker rooms are local sportsmen who break the law by giving the local populace a place or chance to gamble. Many of the new breed of bookmakers are college graduates. In fact, mobsters or racketeers are as different from the bookies or Poker room operators as night from day. These "animals," as they are commonly called by bookies and gamblers, think nothing of torturing a victim by breaking his legs, head, and even killing him when it serves their purpose.

Today illegal race and sports bookies are constantly being arrested by the FBI and other state law-enforcement agents. But as soon as one bookie is jailed, another takes his place. It's an endless chain that never seems to stop. As to the employment of FBI agents in tracking down bookies all over the country, I agree with my friend,

Table of Contents


1. Gambling: America's Biggest Industry

America's $500 Billion Gambling Handle
Does the Mafia Control Gambling in America?
The Law vs. Gambling
Another Scarne Gambling Survey
Types of Gamblers
Gambling and the Federal Tax Problem

2. The Mathematics and Science of Gambling

What Is Gambling?
Gamblers and Scientists
Chance and How It Works
What Are Odds?
Percentage and How It Works Against the Player
Gambling Operators Also Have Headaches
Hot and Cold Players
Luck and How It Works
Gambler's Fallacy
The "Guesser's Disadvantage,"
Gambling Systems
Skill vs. Chance
How to Better Your Chances of Winning

3. Horse Racing: The King of Sports

The Historical Background of Racing
Bookmaking as an Industry
Win, Place, Show and Exotic Bets
Types of Races
The Track Line and the Morning Line
Origin of Bookmaking and the Pari-mutuel Betting System
How the Totalisator and the Pari-mutuel System Work
How Nickel and Dime Breakage Works
How the State and Track Guts Beat Down the Players
Minus Pools
Race Touts and Their Methods
Betting Rings
Crooked Horse Racing
Hunch and Form Players
System Players
Portrait of a Bookmaker
Women Bookies
Horse Mobs Who Cheat Bookmakers
The Inside Operation of a Bookmaker
Scarne's Advice on Betting the Races
Scarne's Advice on "Exotic" Pari-mutuel Bets
Legalized Off-Track Betting vs. the Illegal Bookie
Protection and Graft
Legalized Off-Track Betting in Various Countries
Puerto Rico's Track and Off-Track Betting
Legal Off-Track Bookmaking in Nevada
New York City's OTB or Off-TrackBetting
What Congress Should Do About the 10% Federal Excise Gambling Tax Law
Scarne's State Off-Track Betting Plan

4. Betting on Sports Events

Sports Offices and Bookmakers
Misconceptions About Betting Scalpers
Race Bookies and Sports Betting
The Sports Line and How It Is Made
Betting on Baseball Games
Baseball's 40¢ Line
Baseball's 20¢ Line
Baseball's 10¢ Line
Baseball's 5¢ Line
Why Some Sports Bookies Get Ulcers
How to Figure Your Winning Baseball Bets
Baseball's Run Spread Bet
Betting on Football
Betting on Basketball
Basketball's Under and Over Bet
Betting on Hockey
Betting on Greyhound Dog Racing
Scarne's Advice on Betting the Dogs
Betting on Jai Alai, the World's Fastest Game
Betting on Elections
Betting on Prizefights
Betting on Golf Games
Scarne's Legalized State Sports Betting Plan

5. Lotteries, Sweepstakes, Pools and Raffles

The First Public Money Lottery
The British Lottery Mania
Great Britain's Premium Bond Lottery
The British Football Pool
Small British Lotteries
Early American Lotteries
Policy Shops
The Louisiana Lottery
The Puerto Rican Lottery
Crooked Lotteries
Treasury Tickets: Father of Today's State Lotteries
Baseball and Football Pools
The Irish Hospitals' Sweepstakes
Taxes on Sweeps Tickets
What are Your Sweepstakes Chances?

6. State Lotteries and How They Work

Scarne's Proposed Triple-Action Lottery Plan
The Giant Sweepstakes and How It Works

7. The Numbers Game

Origin of Today's Numbers Game
Treasury Tickets
Clearinghouse Numbers
The Racket Boys Move In
The $6 Million Numbers Swindle
The Pari-mutuel Handle Number
Protection and the Law
New York City's Numbers Game
Lucky Numbers
Number 614
Numbers Bets and Payoff Odds
The Economics of the Numbers Bank
The Numbers Game Odds
The Numbers Bank Percentage Take
Scarne's Proposed State Numbers Plan

8. Bingo: The $3 Billion National Pastime

Legal vs. Illegal Bingo
The Origin of Bingo
The Mechanics of the Game
Bingo Equipment
The Play of the Game
The Bingo Debate
Bigtime Games
Bingo Mathematics
Cheating at Bingo
Your Best Bet at Bingo

9. Gambling Casinos: Carpet and Sawdust Joints Yesterday and Today

Carpet Joints
Sawdust Joints
The Barn
The Racket Boys Move In
Early Casinos
Monte Carlo
Canfield and Bradley
New Casino Games
The History of the Las Vegas Strip
Is Gambling in Nevada Honest?
Government Supervision of Puerto Rican Casinos
Casino Operation
Gambling Junkets
Nevada Gambling and Big Business
Honest Casinos vs. Steer Joints
Tips on How to Spot a Crooked Casino
Casinos' Earning Power

10. Craps: The World's Fastest Gambling Game

Casino and Candy Store Dice
Men and Women Dice Degenerates
The Unfinished Craps Hand
Bank Craps, Money (or Open) Craps, New York Craps, Scarney Craps and Private Craps
Origin and History
The First Craps Bookmaker
The Origin of Vigorish
Scarne's Official Rules for Private Craps
Private Craps: Hustlers and Chumps
Bank Craps Las Vegas Style
Bank Craps Layouts
Bank Craps Bets
New York Craps
Scarney Craps
How to Gamble Sensibly at Bank Craps
Money (or Open) Craps
How to Detect Crooked Dice
Cheating with Honest Dice
Protection Against Dice Cheats
Craps Betting Systems

11. Correct Odds in Dice Games Using Two, Three, Four or Five Dice

12. Black Jack, or Twenty-One: Casino Style

Casino Betting Limits
The $250,000 Win
The $1 Million Freeze-out
Black Jack Mechanics
Black Jack's History
How Black Jack Got Its Name
Casino Variations
Scarne's Casino Black Jack Rules
The Black Jack Dealer's Exact Percentage Take

13. Black Jack Strategy

The Science of Black Jack
Beating the Black Jack Tables
Scarne's Four-Deck Black Jack Shuffle
Strategy for Drawing and Standing
Player's Soft Hand, or Two-Way Count
Splitting Pairs
Doubling Down
Insurance Betting
Additional Black Jack Strategy
Cheating at Black Jack
Scarne's Rules for Private Black Jack

14. Roulette

Roulette Wheels -- Yesterday and Today
Standard Roulette Equipment
Roulette Personnel and Their Duties
Scarne's Rules for Playing Roulette
Possible Roulette Bets, Odds and Percentages
Roulette Betting Limits
The $400,000 Roulette Win
Roulette Betting Systems
Cheating at Roulette
Gaffed Roulette Wheels
Cheating with an Honest Wheel
How to Protect Yourself Against Short Payoffs
How to Gamble Sensibly at Roulette

15. Slot Machines: The One-armed Bandits

Legal and Illegal Slots
Charles Fey and the First Slot Machines
Federal Taxes and Law Enforcement
How to Spot a Crooked Slot Machine
Modern Slot Machines and Paybacks
Slot Machine Odds
Calculating the Payout Percentage on Other Machines
Slot Players
Beating the One-armed Bandit
The Rhythm System
Pinball Machines
Advice to Slot Machine Players

16. Chemin de Fer and Baccarat

Scarne's Rules for Chemin de Fer
Baccarat Las Vegas Style
Scarne's Rules for Playing Baccarat Las Vegas Style
Percentages Against the Player at Baccarat and Chemin de Fer
Advice to Baccarat and Chemin de Fer Players
Cheating at Baccarat and Chemin de Fer
Crooked Dealing Shoes Used to Cheat at Baccarat and Chemin de Fer
Private Chemin de Fer, or Slogger

17. Scarney Baccarat

History of the Game
Scarne's Rules of Play for Scarney Baccarat
Scarney Baccarat Strategy
Scarney Baccarat Strategy Table

18. Keno: Nevada's Solitaire Bingo-Type Game

Playing Rules

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Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book on gambling I have read. It teaches history of games and probability. If you are  bad at poker, a few minutes of reading the poker section will make you strong in poker. In the roulette  section you will see the old roulette, which had 0,00, and an "eagle" which was the equivalent of a 000.  The most useful information this book offers might be all the information on cheating. He teaches how to detect and avoid cheating. This book covers both casino games and private games. I was surprised that it even covers carnival games. This book has over 800 pages, so don't think that the games are just briefly explained; they are explained in great detail. 
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the must have for any gambler or gameroom library, it is THE classic reference book on the subject of gambling games. Scarne covers all table games, slots, and betting activities (sports betting, race track, even carnival games) in full and incredible detail. Sometimes the detail is surprising: rare and arcane cheating techniques, the 'dual percentages' of the craps field bet, etc. Also covered extensively are fascinating accounts of illegal game room operations and their histories. His style is often very breezy and sometimes opinionated, and his facts are occasionally outdated or superceeded, but nonetheless, this is the absolute must have gambling reference book. NO gambling library is complete or adequate without it.