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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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Top-10 holiday gifts for the gambler in your life

8 Dec 2014

By Aaron Todd
The holiday season is fast approaching, and if you haven't already finished your shopping list, it's time to get to work. If you have any loved ones in your life who enjoy gambling, here's a list of gift ideas that might bring a smile to their face, and in some cases may help them win (or more likely, lose a little less) on their next trip to the casino.

10. Blackjack basic strategy card
This is a great stocking stuffer. The best thing about basic strategy cards is that most casinos will let players use them at the table. Following basic strategy at a blackjack table won't eliminate the house edge, but it will cut it substantially.

9. Rounders
If your loved one is a poker player, chances are pretty high he or she has seen Rounders, the cult classic poker movie starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich. If they don't already own it, they'll be excited to receive it. No poker player's video library is complete without a copy of this film.

8. premium membership
If you know someone who enjoys playing video poker, there's no better gift than a premium membership at A silver membership is $24.95 for a year, but that simply eliminates advertising on the site.

A gold membership, however, allows users to track credits, play new games before they hit the casino floor, and perhaps most importantly, choose their own pay tables and learn while playing by using the training mode.

Gold memberships are $8.95 a month, or you can spring for a full year for $79.95.

7. Plastic playing cards
Plastic playing cards take your home game up a notch. Paper cards are too easily bent or marked, while plastic cards are durable and give a game a much more professional feel.

There are plenty of options, with Copags being the most popular. But the best deal at right now are these Da Vinci cards, which were available at over 50 percent off the $30 listing price as of Dec. 8. I have a set-up of these which I save for special occasions, like our annual World Series of Poker satellite.

6. Mini table game setup
If your loved one is a jack-of-all-trades sort of table games player, this mini set-up that includes roulette, blackjack and craps may be a good way to pass the time between trips to the casino. Trademark typically makes entry-level in-home casino products, so this isn't going to be something that you'd use for anything other than entertainment at home. If you're looking for some real casino-style action, it's going to cost you some serious coin.

5. The Hangover "It's not gambling" T-shirt
The Hangover had the best homage to the Rain Man blackjack scene in cinematic history. And Zach Galifianakis's role as Alan remains one of the best comedic roles of all time. This T-shirt says it all, and any fan of the film, as well as anyone who thinks they're going to win every time they go into a casino, will appreciate this garment.

4. Zach Elwood poker tells book
I'm a big fan of Elwood. I got to tune into his three-hour webinar earlier this fall, and was impressed with how much work he puts into his craft. He's also realistic, noting that studying tells will help improve your results, but that you shouldn't base your entire game on it.

Elwood is the author of two books on tells: Reading Poker Tells and Verbal Poker Tells. Both will make excellent gifts for the poker player in your life.

3. Futures ticket
If you're going to be in Nevada in the next couple of weeks, a futures ticket for your favorite sports fan makes a great gift. Put $20 down (or any other amount you might spend on that person) on your friend's favorite team to win the World Series, NBA title, Stanley Cup, etc. Unless your friend is a New York Giants fan. Then you can just get them a sympathy card.

2. Custom poker chips
Nothing makes a home game better than a set of custom poker chips. I wouldn't recommend buying the chips without input from the person who is going to use them, but setting aside some money for a person to use at Classic Poker Chips to get them started is a great gift. Just be prepared; custom clays aren't cheap!

1. Daily fantasy sports bankroll
If you have a loved one who plays fantasy sports, but hasn't yet tried the daily variety, give them some money to deposit on DraftKings or FanDuel. Your loved one can then decide how to use the money, whether they want to try to grind up their money in head-to-head matchups, or whether they want to use the money to take a shot at one of the sites' big guaranteed tournaments. Regardless, a gift towards an account at the fastest-growing sector of the online gambling industry in the U.S., and one that's explicitly legal, is a gift that any sports fan can appreciate.
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