When it comes to learning about gambling, you can receive no cheaper education than by reading books about the topic. It is certainly much cheaper than learning at the tables with your hard-earned money at risk. Instructional videos, game simulations, and live play all have a place in your educational curriculum, but in my opinion, books should be your primary source of education. In fact, book learning is a building block toward Poorman's goal of becoming an educated risk taker.
When you are a student of a game, try to expose yourself to as many different authors, opinions, ideas, and methods as you can. It's like a smorgasbord, take what you like and leave the rest. For every game you wish to master, you should strive to learn the rules of the game, including:
- How to play
- Language of the game
- Money management
Bookstores are great because you can find the latest books that have just been published. Sure, they are in pristine condition, but that comes at a price. What would cost me $19.95 new at a bookstore would only set me back $1-$2 if I got it used. And with a subject like gambling, a newly published book isn't necessarily the best book, and probably isn't the most original either. So what if the book is a little scuffed up. It doesn't take away from the information inside, which is what is important. When it comes to expanding your personal library, do what Poorman does and only buy used books.
Your first choice to look for books to read are at your local library. This will expose you to some books without shelling out any money. Begin your education by reading through your library's collection.
I like Amazon because it is a catalog of all the books ever written in human history (well, almost). I'll look up a book on Amazon to read the book description and reviews from other readers. I'll often do this when I'm deciding if a book is worthwhile to check out from the library. When it comes to details about a book, I'm afraid a library isn't the best source of information.
Amazon is a great resource for new and old books, and oftentimes a used book can be purchased for pennies. The only gotcha is the $3.99 shipping charge. Now 'Ol Poorman likes a good deal, and used books offer an exceptional discount over the cost of a new book, but I'll only go the Amazon route when it is a book I feel I must add to my personal collection and I haven't found it through any other source.
One of the fun things I like to do is go book hunting at several Goodwill stores in my local area. Goodwill prices their books at 99 cents for paperbacks and $1.99 for hardcover. That's a great deal! Finding some good books during their frequent half-off sales will even get Poorman foaming at the mouth. They frequently don't categorize their books properly so it's necessary to browse their entire non-fiction section to make sure you don't miss anything. There are some other second-hand stores that I'll occasionally visit, but their book prices aren't as good as the Goodwill.
Usually the book selection isn't too great at garage sales. It really depends upon if you get lucky and the homeowner has an interest in gambling, too. Rummage sales at churches will usually have a better book selection. Again it can be hit or miss.
Library book sales
I've lived in several locations where the local library will have a yearly book sale of titles they want to get rid of and of books that have been donated. This is a potential bonanza, but because library book sales are only held once or twice a year, you have to wait too long to grow your personal library.
Used book stores
My favorite source of used books are used book stores. The one I go to locally is "$2 Buck Books" where paperbacks are $2.00 and hardcovers are $4.00. Used book stores are great because they usually have a large selection of gambling books in their Games section. They are also better at shelving books in the right category so you don't have to waste time browsing other sections. This past Saturday I went for a visit and came away with 8 books to add to my library. And because my total came to more than $15, I got an additional 25% off! Woo-hoo!
Buying used books are a great way to add to your personal gambling library at an economical price. With most gambling books, it doesn't matter if the book is 20 or 30 years old, because modern craps has been around a long time, so you can still find pearls of wisdom in older books. And for me, the hunt is half the fun. It's kind of like the thrill the stars of "Storage Wars" or "American Pickers" get when they find a hidden treasure they can pick up for a song. Give it a try. You'll get hooked!