Author Archives: FSM Staff

5 Reasons Why Anglers Should Warm Up to Kayak Fishing

Are you ready to explore and enjoy an unbeatable fishing experience? Kayak fishing is the way to go for anglers all around the world. Fishing from a kayak helps you access hidden fishing spots that would otherwise be unreachable on foot or on a motorized boat. Plus, kayak fishing is beneficial to your health. Want more convincing to warm up to kayak fishing? Read on!

1. Convenience

Every angler needs to embrace kayak fishing for convenience. Kayaks are easier to haul and transport compared to large fishing boats. You can haul most fishing kayaks in your car just by adding a kayak roof rack. There are also dependable inflatable fishing kayaks that you can carry with you when hiking. Below are some of the ways that kayak fishing offers convenience:

Fishing kayaks are easy to transport and store If you’ve owned a motorized fishing boat, you know this is a big deal. You only need a kayak cart to haul your fishing kayak from the parking lot to the shore. Also, you can transport a kayak on your vehicle’s roof rack, or carry it in the trunk or backpack for inflatables. You also don’t need a lot of space to store your kayak.

You can fish anywhere Every angler needs to experience kayak fishing at least once in their lifetime. Fishing from a kayak will help you access all the nooks and crannies you wouldn’t reach by foot or on a motorized boat. Fishing kayaks are designed for maneuvering in the tightest fishing spots.

Comfort Try kayak fishing if you want to be comfortable as you enjoy catching your favorite fish species. Fishing kayaks are designed for comfort while fishing. You can stand to cast and sit to retrieve fish without worrying about capsizing.

2. Kayak fishing provides better access 

With kayaks, you can access any body of water, including ponds, lakes, and rivers. You can also maneuver in shallow spots and those with sharp corners. Kayak fishing will be excellent if you want to enjoy various fishing conditions.

Since kayaks are easy to transport, you can carry your kayak as you hike and fish in areas that a motorboat wouldn’t access. With a kayak, you can catch various fish species that you wouldn’t access if you were fishing from a pier or on a motorized boat.

Besides accessing remote fishing areas, kayaks also enable you to get to quiet and serene waters where you can enjoy nature.

3. Kayak fishing is economical and environmentally friendly

Who wouldn’t want to save some bucks even when fishing? Kayak fishing is more cost-effective than fishing with motorized boats. With kayaks, you don’t need fuel, and the purchase price and maintenance cost are significantly lower. 

4. Health benefits 

As an angler, you need to warm up to kayak fishing for the health benefits. Paddling your kayak to look for great fishing sports is such great exercise. By paddling, you are working your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.

This exercise strengthens your muscles, helps you burn calories, and increases your energy levels. Kayak fishing is also healthy for your mind. You enjoy the calmness of nature while engaging your mind to balance between paddling and making a catch.

5. Fishing kayaks are customizable 

Most fishing kayaks come loaded with fishing accessories, including rod holders, tackle crates, kayak cooler, and many more. You can also add other accessories that you need for catching specific species. As an angler, you need to try kayak fishing and enjoy having everything you need on your vessel. A well-equipped kayak makes your adventure worthwhile since the chances of making huge catches are higher.

Top Tips to Get You Started Kayak Fishing 

Kayak fishing is becoming popular as a sport and recreational activity. By now, you must have made up your mind to experience this activity with myriad of benefits. Below are some tips to guide you as you start:

  • Always carry the proper safety gear as recommended by the US Coast Guard. Ensure you wear a personal floatation device before getting into the water. Having water, food, and a first aid kit is also advisable.
  • Have a float plan and share a copy with someone you trust. Doing this ensures that it is easier to find and rescue you in an emergency.
  • Have a GPS to help you find your way back to the shore
  • Choose the right kayak; as a novice, you need a stable kayak that is spacious enough to fit your gear and catch
  • Start somewhere familiar; choose an area where you know what to expect regarding fishing, water conditions, and the type of fish. 
  • Wear self-wicking and quick-drying attire that is comfortable and safe

Key Insights & Takeaways

A good fishing kayak needs to be stable and comfortable to stand up on as you cast. It would be best to look for a kayak with accessories that make your experience enjoyable. Some essential accessories on a fishing kayak include paddle and rod holders, fish finders, tackle box, and additional storage compartments. Pro tip: make sure you get yourself a kayak fishing rod as it will make it easier to cast and reel in your catch from your kayak.

Kayak fishing is a fun and calming way to catch fish. If you have yet to try it, you are missing out. Every angler should embrace kayak fishing to enjoy the benefits mentioned above. We hope you’re convinced and ready to experience a new way to wet a line.

Article authored by Ally

FSM Scouting Report: MOX

Book/Movie Title: Mox

Total Pages/Duration: 271 pages (Hardcover)

Author/Director: Jon Moxley

Pace of Play: Inconsistent sums up the pace of this autobiography. Based on the quick hitting prologue, the reader may get the feeling they’re about to buckle in for a wild ride. However, the book ends up feeling more “stop-and-go” by the final few pages. A page turner, this is not. There is never a sense of urgency to find out what’s coming next.

Strengths: The strength of this book comes from Moxley’s raw storytelling. He adds in some jokes and adjectives, but he usually gets to his point rather quickly (it’s just that one point quickly leads to an unrelated point which leads to yet another unrelated story and so on. The good news is that all the tangents are relatively brief). For example, the chapter about the late Brodie Lee starts off simply with, “Brodie died today.” Another chapter about a bully named Scott Baio goes into violent detail about Mox’s first significant fight. 

Weaknesses: The structure of this book is that there is no real structure. At least that’s clear from the beginning which helps the reader prepare. Maybe it was done on purpose to get a sense of what it’s like in Moxley’s head but it’s definitely a weakness in this case. Reading the stream of consciousness of someone who has ADHD can be a double-edged sword. The chapter about Mox receiving his training and paying his dues was surprisingly slow and boring. The tedious detail in that chapter came from out of nowhere. Lastly, professional wrestling books are generally known for some cool glossy photos, usually in the middle of the book. Mox has none. We just get a bunch of random pictures randomly placed, with some randomly in black and white (pretty random right?).

Unique Attributes: This book is unique in that it reads like a collection of short stories about Jon Moxley. One chapter doesn’t always lead into the next (there is a chapter about how to make a sandwich which includes diagrams) but it was a nice experience to read a crazy anecdote here and there over a few weeks. While most stories aren’t about the WWE, the best ones certainly involve Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and the creation of the Shield.

Scout’s Recommendations: Mox is definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of WWE, AEW, New Japan or any other of the many organizations that exist now. Chances are Jon Moxley has wrestled in most of them and has a story to share. If you’re not a wrestling fan, avoid this one at all costs as it’s just going to be one big confusing mess.

It’s California Avocado Month! Here are 6 Sports-Inspired Guacamole Dip Recipes to help you celebrate.

Celebrate 10 Years of California Avocado Month this June

(NewsUSA) – – Ten years ago, the California Avocado Commission first observed June officially as California Avocado Month and is excited to continue celebrating this long-standing tradition. As an ode to the past ten years, the Commission has enlisted the culinary talents of Southern California-native Chef Nyesha Arrington to create delicious and seasonal recipes that prominently feature California avocados, which are grown by about 3,000 California avocado growers with groves from San Diego to Monterey.

Arrington has been celebrated throughout her career for using farm fresh, locally and responsibly sourced ingredients, which made her the perfect partner to craft customized dishes for this celebratory anniversary.

“It’s hard narrowing down the recipes when California avocados have countless possibilities! However, I love when they are paired with complementing flavors. These California avocados definitely hold their own by leveling up any dish and giving an extra wow factor, making it a California chef’s key ingredient,” Arrington says.

Meticulously cared for and picked at their peak, California avocados are a heart-healthy superfood that provide “good” fats to one’s diet. Inspired by how the bountiful flavor and nutrition pair perfectly, Arrington’s Grilled California Avocado & Peach Salad showcases fresh and light flavors perfect for those warm summer nights. The recipe features fresh California avocados and peaches, grilled to perfection, layered on a bed of arugula and crispy quinoa, then paired with a tangy and delicious pistachio-arugula vinaigrette.

To view other mouthwatering creations, including Arrington’s California Avocado Crab & Tuna Stack, or to learn more about California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com.

For even more celebration, check out Shop.CaliforniaAvocado.com to grab this season’s newest merch just in time for California Avocado Month

And for FREE sports-themed guacamole dip and avocado inspired appetizer recipes, click your desired mouth-watering link below:

In Los Angeles Debut, AEW Delivers the Dynamite!

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) made its debut in Los Angeles, California last night. The fledgling wrestling organization’s flagship show AEW Dynamite was live from the Kia Forum in sunny southern California and there were definitely some explosions.

The live event came just days after AEW’s Double or Nothing Pay-Per-View which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday at the sold-out T-Mobile Arena. Another town and another sell-out as thousands of fans packed the refurbished Kia Forum (old home of the L.A. Lakers) for 2 hours of what turned out to be darn good show.

The good vibes started in the parking lot. Fans with replica belts and t-shirts from all wrestling eras chatted as they made their way into the Forum. Everyone was excited. Everyone was power walking. This was something new and also something that doesn’t roll through Los Angeles often. The buildup to the 5pm show time felt like walking around the lobby at an All-Ages punk row show.

Then 5pm hit (the event was being broadcast live on TBS superstation) and the magic started. Cult of Personality blasted over the speaker and out came the newly crowned AEW World Champion, the hugely popular CM Punk!

CM Punk would fight in a triples tag-team match with FTR minutes later. Just some good ol’ fashioned technical wrestling to open the program and the fans loved every minute. Admittedly, The Best in The World looked winded and sloppy at times. Perhaps he twisted his ankle early on because it looked like his feet kept giving out on him. There was an instance in which Punk delivered something that resembled a power bomb but that was aimed at the bottom ropes (maybe). It’s quite possible he would have killed one of the Gunn boys had Papa Gunn not been standing on the ring apron to prevent his neck from snapping on the ropes.

Perhaps the most bizarre (yet thoroughly entertaining) moment came next. One of the AEW originals, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, or MJF as he is known, descended to the ring and unleashed a scathing promo, essentially calling his boss a loser and demanding to be fired. The bad blood between MJF and company owner Tony Khan has been spilling over into the public the last few months. In a nutshell, MJF feels he is not being paid what he is worth. Most of us can relate. As a fan watching, it was hard to tell what was fact and fiction. Especially when CM Punk limped out (he was wearing only one wrestling boot and appeared to be hurt both physically and emotionally) to try to calm him down. MJF ran out of the ring and into the audience at this point. That didn’t looked planned. Security wasn’t even looking and it was only after about 30 seconds that they were seen scrambling to find him in the crowd. These were clearly real security guards, not the guys Wardlow was beating up every week. MJF looked like he didn’t know where he was going and they never caught up with him. As a side note, we later found out that none of this aired on live television. Anyway, it’s not hyperbole to say this was a Top 10 live promo in wrestling history.

Things briefly felt weird after MJF’s tirade but the action picked up again and it was on with the show. The matches varied from fast and furious, to technical, to sports entertainment style. This brought great balance to the show. The hungry L.A. fans got a quick fix then were able to settle in. Some highlights from the event included the return of Miro, the debut of Fallen Goddess Athena Palmer, a bonkers 10-man tag match, and 2 Wardlow powerbombs.

The Jericho Appreciation Society was also on hand. Like most Jericho angles, it started out lame but is slowly growing on people. They let Judas go on a little longer than usual, maybe because it was Los Angeles!

The night ended with Jon Moxley and his ruthless aggression and a Chris Jericho run-in. A bloodied Mox helped set the stage for the upcoming Blood and Guts show.  

AEW didn’t hit a grand slam with this event but they didn’t botch it either. If this were a college course, they earned a solid A- and it’s safe to say fans left satisfied. Walking back to the car, there was no negative buzz. Of course, it always helps when a guy like Mox takes the time to acknowledge the crowd after the cameras go off.

It felt like AEW and the L.A. fans left a good first impression on each other. Hopefully that means AEW will be back sooner than later.

Get Outside and Celebrate National Trails Day

Photo credit: Verónica Miranda

(NewsUSA) – This year, on June 4, millions of people across the United States will hit the trail, any trail, to celebrate the 30th annual American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day.® This year’s celebration focuses on encouraging novice and veteran trail lovers to come together to leave trails and the outdoor community better than they found them. Hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, paddlers, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts and businesses will partner at events across the country to forge a more inclusive trail community and advocate for, maintain and clean up trails and public lands.

American Hiking Society and the nationwide trails community invite people of all ages and abilities to connect with their friends and neighbors around the joy of being outside. Anyone can join the national movement by giving back to the trails to help ensure that everyone can enjoy the outdoors.

“There’s something magical about being outdoors,” says Kate Van Waes, Executive Director of American Hiking Society.

“Fresh air, birds singing, moving along a trail, or even just around the block; there’s nothing quite like it,” she emphasizes. “But today, those trails and green spaces are in dire need of help, and not everyone has access to or feels welcome in these places that can calm and inspire,” Dr. Van Waes explains.

“National Trails Day is the perfect opportunity to get out there with the people you love, give back to the trails that bring us together and make sure no one is left out.”

Not just on National Trails Day, but any day is a great time to commit to keeping the outdoors accessible and restorative for all.

Some ways you can make a difference include:

– Join a local trail event, or start your own. Search the American Hiking Society website for events in your area.

– Take the National Trails Day Pledge, and commit to leaving the trail and the outdoor community better than you find them. For example, take a trash bag with you on a walk or hike. Or speak up and tell your Members of Congress to support the Transit to Trails Act. You’ll be entered to win prizes from National Trails Day sponsors AKHG by Duluth Trading Co., Athletic Brewing Co., REI Co-op, Osprey Packs, and more.

– Share how you’ll leave the trail and the outdoor community better than you found them, and tag #NationalTrailsDay and @AmericanHiking on social media. Photos and videos tagged on Instagram will be entered into the National Trails Day® photo contest for a chance to win premium gear prize packages.

Visit americanhiking.org for more information and to find events near you.

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is made possible by the generous support of corporate sponsors — AKGH by Duluth Trading Co., Athletic Brewing Co., REI Co-Op, and Osprey Packs. federal partners include the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Highway Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.

12 Things You Need to Know Before Betting The 2022 NBA Finals

The matchups are yet to be decided, but here are 12 facts you should know before placing your NBA Finals bets. Some of these little-known facts and figures can be the keys to placing winning bets. But keep in mind, betting lines are subject to change. Online sportsbooks such as BetUS.com update their NBA odds regularly.

1. The winner of Game 1 has claimed the title in 14 of the last 20 NBA Finals.

2. The home team has won Game One in 15 of the last 16 NBA Finals, excluding the 2020 championship, which was played on a neutral court. That trend could continue, so keep an eye on the NBA lines once the Finals are decided.

3. The team with home-court advantage has also won the championship in 14 of the last 20 NBA Finals. Golden State will have home-court advantage no matter its opponent. Dallas would have homecourt advantage over Boston but not Miami.

4. Since the NBA Finals MVP was first awarded in 1969, only two players — Joe White (1976) and Chauncey Billups (2004) — are among eligible players on the outside looking in at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The other 51 are either enshrined, still active or waiting to become eligible. That means the MVP will be: Steph Curry (+225), Jayson Tatum (+250), Jimmy Butler (+550) or Luka Doncic (+650).

5. The East has not had consecutive titles from different teams since Detroit and Chicago won back-to-back championships in 1990 and 1991. The winner of Miami and Boston will try to end that streak after Milwaukee won last year.

6. The last time a team outside the top two seeds represented the West was the 2012 Mavericks, who won the title vs. Miami as a No. 3 seed. The last time a No. 4 seed did the same? The 2008 Mavericks, who lost the championship series to Miami. Could we see a rubber match?

7. The 2008 Celtics were the last No. 1 seed from the East to win a title without LeBron James on their roster. Miami has a chance to change that.

8. The last three head coaches to win NBA titles — Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Mike Budeholzer — were all first-timers. Golden State’s Steve Kerr has three titles, and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra has two, while Dallas’s Jason Kidd and Boston’s Ime Udoka are in search of their first rings as head coaches.

9. The average NBA Finals score has leveled out since skyrocketing to 236 points per game in 2017. Averages were about 217 PPG in both 2018 and 2019 before dipping to 214.5 in 2020 and sneaking back up to 221 in 2021. Keep an eye on the totals (or over/unders), as anything outside that range may give you a leg up.

10. Dallas finished 6-2 in the regular season vs. the three other remaining teams. Golden State went 4-4, Boston 3-4 and Miami 2-5.

11. How long will the series last? History says six games is the most likely result. Since the 1976 merger, six series have been 4-0 sweeps, 10 have ended in Game 5 and eight have finished in a do-or-die Game 7. The other 22 went six games.

12. Titles have been relatively even between the two conferences. The West holds a 26-24 advantage over the last 50 championship series, and the last 10 are split evenly at 5-5.

Smart bettors read between the lines, and keeping these twelve little-known stats, facts and figures in mind when laying your NBA Finals bets this year should improve your odds of making a profit as we send this year’s NBA season off to the history books.

Photo Credit: Designed by Freepik

Rail-Trails Are Hidden Gems, And Good for You Too!

Explore Your Local Trails, Enjoy Long-Term Health Benefits

(NewsUSA) – Stress — it’s everywhere. But there is an easy form of stress reduction that is as simple as opening your front door.

Spending time outside can help improve your physical and mental health, and you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to reap the benefits.

Studies show that simply going out for a walk in nature can help build strength and endurance, and contribute to feelings of relaxation and resilience. Being active outside has proven benefits for people’s minds and bodies.

Rail-trails in particular are ideal for individuals of all abilities and fitness levels to safely enjoy the outdoors. Rail-trails are multipurpose public paths created from former railroad corridor. That means they are flat or gently sloping, have a hard surface that makes them accessible to all types of activities and are available in rural and urban areas.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting communities across America with trails. One way they do this is through promoting the value of time spent outside — by encouraging people to make “trail moments” a regular part of their lives and sharing these experiences to inspire others to discover the convenience and joy of being active outside on trails.

“I feel really lucky to have grown up in Virginia, and now I live in Washington state, with lots of access to these trails, but there are literally thousands of miles of rail-trails all over the country,” says Miranda Webster, (@mirandagoesoutside) a longtime outdoor-enthusiast.

“So, whether you are mountain biking, hiking, walking your dog, or riding your bike, I hope that you’re able to find a trail near you where you can enjoy it as much as I have through my entire life,” she says.

Travel blogger Jeff Jenkins (@chubbydiaries_), based in Texas, has taken his wanderlust to local trails in a series of blogs and videos for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

“Now, I’m showing people how to discover their own backyards, from their local cities to national parks, trails and the great outdoors,” says Mr. Jenkins, who has also created an online community for plus-sized travelers at chubbydiaries.com.

“So often people see trails as a way to get a little outdoor recreation, and yes, that’s true,” says Ian Mackay (@ians_ride), who regularly enjoys the trails in rural Washington state from his power wheelchair. “But it is so much more for me… having a safe trail space where I can go explore my own interests, interact with the community, and run my own errands is monumental to my happiness,” adds Mr. Mackay, who is also the founder of Ian’s Ride, a nonprofit organization.

This fall, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is taking inspiration from the thousands of stories that people have shared about the personal impact of time spent outside on trails and encouraging people of all ages and abilities to make a habit of it. Their #TrailMoments 21-Day Challenge offers fun activities to encourage people to get out on the trail every day.

Visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website for more information and tips on making outdoor time part of your daily routine. www.railstotrails.org/trailmoments and @railstotrails #TrailMoments on social media.

FSM Scouting Report: 30 For 30 Shark

Book/Movie Title: 30 For 30: Shark

Total Pages/Duration: 76 minutes

Author/Director: Jason Hehir & Thomas Odelfelt

Pace of Play: Watching this documentary is similar to playing 18 holes of golf. Kind of dull for the most part but you do get some great moments of interest and excitement mixed in. While this doc clocks in just under 80 minutes, it feels like you’ve been watching for 2 hours by the time the credits roll.

Strengths: The strength of this documentary lies in the accessibility of Greg Norman. He takes on all questions about “choking” and even takes a literal walk through the Master’s course at Augusta, home of his 1996 heartbreak. He’s honest but also seems like he’s in denial. An honest denial? While the viewer gets a condensed back story and buildup, this documentary is really all about that 1996 choke job.

Weaknesses: Maybe we were spoiled by The Last Dance because there was no true drama in this doc. At times, things got boring. Norman’s low volume monotone voice didn’t help matters.

Unique Attributes: One the director’s is the same person who directed The Last Dance. There are some noticeable similarities in styles of each film.

The loveable Jack Nicklaus makes appearances throughout this documentary with some great insights. Always classy never sassy. Scott Van Pelt (SVP) also pops up often.

A montage of Norman driving Ferraris and riding on to golf courses on helicopters was perfectly set to ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man. Some would say it’s the highlight of the entire film.  

Scout’s Recommendations: Subscribers of ESPN+ have access to this film and should definitely consider giving it a stream. It’s not really a film just for golf fans – most people will be able to relate to that moment of truth in their own life. Did they pull through under pressure or did they just pull a Shark?

Find out more about 30 For 30: Shark by clicking here.

Diveheart Adaptive Scuba Diving Trip Transforms Filmmaker’s Life

(NewsUSA) – Scuba diving can be an exotic and enriching activity for anyone, but for individuals with a range of physical or cognitive disabilities, the unique weightlessness of the underwater environment allows them to exercise, relax, have fun and gain confidence like no other experience. Children and adults with challenges, including traumatic brain injuries, amputation, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and blindness can enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of scuba diving.

Diveheart, a Downers Grove, Ill.,-based nonprofit tax-exempt organization, has been helping youth, veterans and others with disabilities through adaptive scuba and scuba therapy since 2001.Last year, Los Angeles filmmaker David Marsh accompanied a Diveheart team on a scuba trip to Cozumel, Mexico, to make a documentary about the organization and its mission. For Marsh, the experience was life-changing, as he completed the trip and his filming despite the tragic personal loss of his son to a drug overdose just one week earlier.On the last day of the trip, Marsh shared his loss with the Diveheart team.

“David Marsh is amazing and awesome. Despite his loss and grief, he soldiered on and captured the spirit, love and hope that emerges from every Diveheart trip,” says Diveheart’s founder and president, Jim Elliott.”He captured the essence of our mission and shared the real-life experience of what Diveheart does to help those with disabilities experience freedom underwater.”

In the documentary, every day embraces a theme; day one is trust, day two is freedom and day three is adapting. Audiences will see how Marsh translated the feelings of the adaptive divers, who shared their losses, struggles, fears and hopes.

“We are so grateful to David for capturing Diveheart in action,” Elliott emphasizes. “My hope for this documentary is to raise awareness to Diveheart’s mission: to revolutionize rehabilitation by using zero gravity underwater to help those with everything from mobility issues to chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. We help our participants find that self-confidence, personal strength and independence, and we will continue to do so in the years to come.

The documentary, “Adapting To Dive,” premieres at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Classic Cinemas Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave. in Downers Grove, Ill. To see a trailer of the documentary, click here. Tickets are $12 for general admission and accessible seating.For more information about the documentary and tickets, click here.

Visit diveheart.org for more information about Diveheart. 

FSM Retro Reviews: The Craps Underground

FSM takes a looks back at Thomas “Irshsetter” Morgan’s classic scorched earth review of the controversial 2004 book The Craps Underground – The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Are Winning Millions from the Casinos.

“Scoblete’s new book depicts the real world of dice influencing about as accurately as Hogan’s Heroes depicted life in a World War II German POW camp.”

That was my initial impression of Scoblete’s new book which I posted on the message board a few weeks back. Now I’ve had a chance to re-read the book a couple of times and fully digest it. Fortunately, I acquired one of the pre-release copies of the book, gratis. I would have had a SERIOUS case of buyers remorse had I actually paid $24.95 for this 315 page hard cover dog.

My complete review follows.

I read a lot. I spend an hour and a half each work day on a train, so I go through books quickly. In my library, I have probably 40 to 50 books on craps specifically or gambling in general. In all the gambling books I’ve read, I can unequivocally say that no matter how poorly written or conceived the book was, I’ve always found some redeeming quality in the book. The Craps Underground is the exception. If a good gambling book is like a delicious filet mignon, this book is more akin to the stuff they feed people on the TV show, Fear Factor.

Let’s start with the ENTIRE title of the book. The Craps Underground – The Inside Story of How Dice Controllers Are Winning Millions from the Casinos. Pure, unadulterated hype. For arguments sake, we’ll assume that “Millions” means something more than one or two million, ten million would be a reasonable starting point, and it’s at least implied that it also means millions in net profit. Last spring, Frank Scoblete estimated that there are fewer than 200 skilled “dice controllers” operating in the US. By doing a little division, that would mean on average, those 200 dice “controllers” are taking down $50,000 in profits, each. Except for a few rather well bankrolled shooters, there is no evidence that the average dice controller is showing that kind of profit. Yes, many dice influencers are consistently profitable but the title alone, and I’ll repeat myself here, is unadulterated hype.

So, now let’s get into the book a bit. Chapter one opens with Scoblete having a marathon winning session with the dicecoach, Beau Parker. Here’s how Scoblete describes the session with the dicecoach,

“…seven glorious hours shooting dice with a fellow dice controller and newfound friend known as the ‘Bodacious One,’ Beau Parker.”

This session, and these warm expressions of friendship for the dicecoach occurred just a few months prior to the formation of GTC. I’ll get back to that later.

Let’s dive a little further into this drivel. In the early chapters, we get to hear Scoblete wax poetically about “the Captain,” again. Yawn…. hasn’t he beaten that horse to death yet? Then he introduces various future members of the GTC organization. Apparently, these guys never lose! Or if they do happen to have a poor session, it is quickly followed by a miraculous comeback. AMAZING! There are a couple of chapters on “The Lee Brothers.” These two chapters are almost engaging. Except for one thing. OF COURSE “The Lee Brothers” coincidentally have read all of Scoblete’s books, and religiously play like the captain. Subtle as a freight train, that Scoblete.

There’s a chapter on the Las Vegas Craps Festival which I participated in. Scoblete briefly mentions me here, and he certainly had the opportunity to take some shots at me if he wanted to. Surprisingly he didn’t though, for whatever reason. However, he did misrepresent what I discussed that day. Here’s what he had to say about me.

“Irishsetter has strong opinions.”

Well, he got THAT part right but later went on to say,

“In fact, Irishsetter made a strong pitch that people shouldn’t be paying or charging to learn dice control, that all the information should be free.”

In all actuality, I said nothing of the sort. The gist of my discussion was twofold. One, that aspiring dice influencers should learn as much as possible for free, or as cheaply as they can, and two, that there is no one single correct philosophy on how to set, grip and throw the dice. My opinion today is no different. If you’re interested, I have an article on dicesetter.com which goes further into my discussion that day called, The “Missing” Tape – The Article. My guess is that given the opportunity, Scoblete didn’t want to take any obvious shots at me, but instead chose to misrepresent my discussion in an attempt to embarrass me since I do occasionally participate in seminars. What IS missing in the book, is what Scoblete talked about that day. One of the major points of his discussion was that dice influencers would soon begin to experience the kind of heat that card counters get if they didn’t go “underground.” It seems Scoblete had a change of heart. Either that, or his definition of going “underground” is hyping dice influencing in books, holding seminars in casinos, and advertising dice control on the radio and in newspapers and magazines.

Blah, blah, blah. Several chapters not even worth mentioning.

OK, what’s next. Scoblete raids Jerry Patterson’s PARR organization of most of the coaching staff and Golden Touch Craps is born. Despite the fact that I’m intimately knowledgeable about many of the personalities involved here, these chapters are about as interesting as watching hibernating bears. I have to give Scoblete credit though. He mentions his GTC staff and as many hangers on in the GTC periphery as often as possible. Why? Because the average Joe will think it’s really “neat” that Frank Scoblete put them in his book. Pathetic? Yes. But, those folks in the periphery will go out on amazon.com, buy multiple copies of the book, and write a glowing review so their friends will buy it and see their names in print. Oh Boy!

Now we get to the “A and E Special.” It’s my opinion that the truth lies somewhere between what was broadcast by A and E, what has been written on the various web sites, and what is written in this book about the special. What Scoblete wants you to believe is that A and E decided not to broadcast the footage of all the winning sessions that actually occurred. This despite the fact that the A and E special was basically a feel-good piece. The funny thing about the A and E special is that the dicecoach, who was the main focus, invited Frank Scoblete to join him. (Scoblete then invited several other folks. What a guy!) Remember how they’d become “friends” during their marathon craps shoot several months earlier? It seems that ‘ole Scoblete is beginning to have a change of heart again. You see, Scoblete in the A and E chapter elaborates these wonderful stories about the GTC folks involved, but basically trashes everyone else who is not involved with GTC like the dicecoach, Soft Touch, and Hardways.

Blah, blah, blah. A couple more chapters not even worth mentioning.

Ah…finally we’re heading to the conclusion of the book. Scoblete closes the book with his Las Vegas Diary. This portion of the book was published on his site several months back, so I was familiar with this part already. I’ll give you the long and short of his 15 day diary here. Frank wins. Frank says wonderful things about the various GTC folks he plays with. Frank says nasty things about various other people he comes across. They lament that Treasure Island isn’t as friendly as it used to be. Boo-hoo-hoo. Frank and his playing partners lose, but miraculously have a comeback! Heard this before? What is really interesting about the diary is how Scoblete trashes dicecoach, again. Remember, in the opening of the book, Frank and Beau are “newfound friends.” Now, just a year later, here are just a few things that Scoblete now has to say about dicecoach. When asked if Frank knew the dicecoach, he replied,

“No, no” and “I barely know him.”

Apparently he doesn’t even have the cojones to refer to Beau by his name or his moniker at this point. Throughout the diary he refers to him now as “Crapsguy” and basically lays blame on Beau for whatever heat they experience in the casino. Frank writes,

“Some GTC members had a theory that the Crapsguy, the freelance dice-control instructor, had been too public, aggressive and up-front at the tables about what he was doing…”

This coming from the Scoblete is a hoot! He goes on to say,

“even when GTC did our course at Sam’s Town in Tunica we were laid back at the tables and never talked about dice control or handed our business cards across the table to drum up new business as the Crapsguy is wont to do.”

Again, from Scoblete’s pen, this is a riot. I mean, he’s holding a seminar in a casino for Pete’s sake and he complaining about the dicecoach handing out his business card? Besides, just a few pages earlier in the book, Scoblete had elaborated the following story which occurred at the Green Valley Ranch crap tables.

“..a dealer at Sunset Station, who likes to play at Green Valley Ranch, complimented me on my style. I gave him one of our Craps Club Black Chips with our phone number, and whispered to him if he was interested in learning how to roll like that give us a call.”

So, Frank will deride you for behavior that he himself exhibits. Hmmm. What’s that saying? Oh yeah. Pot – Kettle – Black.

I wonder how Beau the dicecoach would have been portrayed in the The Craps Underground had he accepted GTC’s invitation to join their organization. You think perhaps THAT had something to do with Frank’s change of heart, from “friend” to “the Crapsguy?”

Basically, the book in a nutshell is this. 70% of the book is an infomercial for GTC. 20% of the book is various trip reports. Don’t worry. The few sessions which aren’t profitable for Scoblete? Just read on, a miraculous comeback is in store. The final 10% of the book is the subtle trashing of anyone who is not involved with GTC or a member of the GTC flock.

If you read the jacket cover of the book, and anything else Scoblete writes for that matter, it says,

“Frank Scoblete is the number-one best-selling gaming author in America..”

If that’s true, and people really do think Scoblete has something to say, well, then, my mother was right when she said,

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

About the Author: Thomas Morgan aka Irishsetter is the webmaster of http://www.dicesetter.com and is widely recognized in the gambling community as an expert in dice influencing.