Anthony Curtis Recommends
Why Bargain City?We just sent out an email blast offering my 1993 book, Bargain City -- Booking, Betting, and Beating the new Las Vegas.It's just $3 (and I'm autographing each with my "Coupons rule!" battle cry), but is a 1993 guidebook worth even that? For a collector, maybe -- Bargain City was in print for only about two years and it was written LVA-style, so it was certainly a different breed of guide to the city.
We sold nearly 15,000 copies and it had a big future as an annual, but I just didn't have the time to keep it up as I worked on other things. But let's leave the collector consideration out of it. Is there enough information in the book to justify three beans? Honestly, I think there is. While part of the book was up-to-date (back then) guide, an equal part was strategy -- both in how to track down deals and how to play the gambling games. To help you decide, I'm providing a list of what in Bargain City remains pertinent.
The chapter on video poker contains little of the excellent information that has surfaced since then, but it does have some interesting elements that remain valuable, including what I still think is one of the most succinct explanations of how to read pay schedules. There's also good basic information on how to reduce risk and how to determine the expected value of progressives, including the only "Video Poker Speed Chart" that I've ever seen created.
The chapter on blackjack contains an "Abbreviated Basic Strategy" that I developed with the help of the late blackjack-theory guru, Peter Griffin. It's just six rules that will hold you in good stead wherever you play. There's also a complete basic strategy chart for single- and multiple-deck play that's as easy to understand and works as well as anything you'll find in any other book.
The chapter on tournaments is strong, zeroing in on how to determine which tournaments are fundamentally better to play, based on the "equity" they provide. I was deep into the tournament scene when I wrote this and it's solid. Similar to video poker, the chapter on sports betting provides strong beginner information on how to read the sports book lines and make a bet.
Other things of value include an interesting timeline that runs from the opening of the Mirage up to the "Great Race," when Treasure Island, Luxor, and MGM Grand were built concurrently; a discussion of the famous "VIP Vacation" that got Bob Stupak into trouble, but also made him a lot of money; and, of course, lots of information and first-person stories about coupons and coupon runs.
I'm not saying this is a must-have book for gamblers, but I'm confident it will help beginners, and you might get a kick out of some of the other information it holds. Check it out!