Bob Stupak was the founder and owner of the Vegas World ligaz11 Casino in Las Vegas, which is now the Stratosphere. A tireless promoter, Stupak was both one of the of the most innovative and controversial casino entrepreneurs. He’s also known as a big gambler himself, being one of the “old school” of casino owners who is both willing to fade very large action, occasionally gambling his casino’s livelihood against his opposition, and willing to make large wagers himself. Despite his brash style, Stupak also understands the fundamentals of gambling and mathematics. In Yes, You Can Win! Stupak dispenses gambling advice focused on what works for his personal style.
In his book, Stupak discusses the intrinsic mathematics of gambling at a very introductory level. I might quibble with the way he presents some concepts, but he gets the math right. He also relates his preferred style of gambling: Start with a moderate sized stake for the session, increase bet sizes when winning, but don’t double up, and decrease bet sizes when losing. Stupak feels that this gives the gambler a reasonable chance at making a big score without risking either an enormous session loss or on getting tapped out on a single big bet. While he decries more familiar “system” betting, like the D’Alembert or Martingale systems, the system he prefers using confers no intrinsic advantage or disadvantage over any other style, it’s just a method that suits him. This is fine, but it’s unfortunate that it’s presented as a superior system when it’s not. At least he does admit that no betting style, including his, can overcome the house advantage.
He talks about the rules and procedures for three of the most popular casino games: craps, blackjack, and roulette. These are all presented at the beginning level, and his description of play is easy to follow. His blackjack basic strategy table isn’t perfect, but it’s not completely out of line, and the rest of the information he presents on these games is accurate. Stupak also discusses slot machines. He mentions calculating pay back based on the number of reels and the number of stops on each reel. Even when the book was written, this information wasn’t correct for almost, if not all, slot machines in Nevada casinos. Instead of the stops being chosen randomly with equal probability, they’re chosen electronically, and each stop on each wheel may have a different probability of occurring.
Due to his direct style and relentless self-promotion people view Stupak in a variety of ways, ranging from admiration to bemusement to outright contempt. The title page touts Stupak as “The World’s Foremost Gambler”. Whether this is true or not can be debated, but his style is evident in this book. No place is this more apparent than in the last chapter, where Stupak is interviewed by some nameless individual, and in the first chapter, where the author describes how he came up with the idea for the Stratosphere tower.
I found this out of print book to be amusing. I think the gambling advice is better presented in a few other books, but his approach isn’t bad, especially considering how many awful books there are on the market. This isn’t a book that most people should relentlessly seek out, but for die-hard gambling readers who find Stupak’s style and antics at least amusing, it’s worth acquiring on the cheap if one stumbles across it.
Love or hate him, at least Bob Stupak is an interesting and genuine character. In “Yes, You Can Win!”, Stupak provides information on how to play the three most well-known casino table games and dispenses his advice on how he likes to bet. While his opinions on money management aren’t as definitive as he makes them sound, his advice certainly isn’t horrible, at least compared to other books on the market. Most people shouldn’t feel the need to seek out this mostly forgotten out-of-print work, but the right reader will find the book entertaining.