The gambling industry and pop culture are increasingly realistic, from James Bond to non-fiction novels. For many in the gambling world, reading has been a go-to source of inspiration and anecdotal entertainment.
Whether seeking to woo Lady Luck or simply looking for an interesting tale, both men and women have turned to literature for insight. With this in mind, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of stories that not only entertain but also offer inspiration for achieving your own success.
Bringing Down The House Written By Ben Mezrich
Penguin Books published “Bringing Down the House,” a 320-page novel that recounts one of the most significant casino scams in American history. The book chronicles a group of MIT mathematics and physics students who employ their card-counting skills to pull off a lucrative scheme, bilking high-profile casinos out of millions of dollars.
This thrilling story is rife with greed, extravagant spending and scandal, and it served as the inspiration for the 2008 film “21,” starring Kevin Spacey. While the movie was well-received by casino movie enthusiasts, it’s often said that “the book is always better.” Now, you have the chance to put this theory to the test with this gripping bestseller.
Molly’s Game Written By Molly Bloom
The author, a former figure skater, had to retire due to injury. But she refused to give up and instead used her fame and connections to start a secretive underground gambling ring exclusively for high rollers and celebrities.
Little did she know that rubbing shoulders with some of the most notorious gamblers from the mob would lead to a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. The resulting suspenseful story is one you’ll have to read to experience without spoilers.
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself and Win Written by Maria Konnikova
“The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win” delves into the psychology of poker players, exploring the mind of a gambler. Written by psychologist and author Maria Konnikova, the book provides keen insights into human behaviour and offers a deeper understanding of the game of poker.
But this isn’t just a book about poker. Konnikova went beyond mere observation and actually became a successful poker player, winning over $311 000 and continuing to dominate the game. And yet, she still maintains her work as a psychologist, researcher, and writer, with poker being just one of her many hobbies.
The Professor, The Banker And The Suicide King Written By Michael Craig
In this book from Grand Central Publishing, author Michael Craig takes readers inside what is widely regarded as the richest poker game in history. The true story revolves around self-made billionaire Andy Beal and his insatiable appetite for high-stakes poker.
Beal challenged some of the biggest names in the world of poker to a tournament at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas, where each player brought $1 million to the table and bet $10 000 and $20 000 in blinds per round. This casino game would go down in history as the highest-stakes poker game ever played.
Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard
Daredevil performer Dennis Lenahan is entertaining guests at the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi with his death-defying act of diving off an eighty-foot ladder into a mere nine feet of water.
Amidst the crowd of gamblers, gangsters, and beautiful women, Dennis witnesses a Dixie-style mob execution while perched on his diving platform. Unbeknownst to him, Robert Taylor, a Detroit hustler with a love for blues music, also witnessed the hit and has his own agenda concerning the “Cornbread Cosa Nostra”. Robert wants Dennis to join him in his game, but there’s more to him than meets the eye, including a photo of his lynched great-grandfather in his pocket.
As Dennis becomes more involved with Robert, he discovers that he’s in deeper than he realised, and the danger around him begins to escalate. Amidst hoop skirts, Civil War re-enactments, and unexpected trouble, Dennis may be headed for a fatal fall, one that could be his last.
Casino: Love and Honour in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi
The book delves into the era spanning from the 1970s to early 1980s, during which the Mafia had a grip on several Las Vegas casinos. While today it is widely believed that major casinos are no longer influenced by the Mafia, during the period covered in the book, the government had to enforce strict measures to keep organised crime out of Vegas casinos.
Pileggi focuses on the life of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a Chicago bookmaker who worked for the Mafia and his partner and friend, Anthony Spilotro, who was also a member of the Mafia. Rosenthal oversaw casino operations, while Spilotro provided protection and security, as well as masterminding jewellery heists that earned his crew the nickname “Hole in the Wall Gang”.
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Robin Quinn
The book recounts the remarkable tale of Charles Deville Wells, also known as “Monte Carlo Wells,” who achieved notoriety for breaking the bank at Monte Carlo’s renowned casino. The narrative delves into the question of whether Wells created an infallible betting system or if he was merely a swindler. Wells’s exploits earned him the moniker of Europe’s most wanted man and 36 different aliases.
The book is meticulously researched and offers a captivating read, chronicling Wells’s ascent to fame and the intricate web of deceit and intrigue that surrounded him. It is a fascinating account of a man who captured the world’s attention with his incredible gambling feats and the mystery surrounding his ultimate success.
Roll The Bones by David G Schwartz
This book offers a thorough overview of the history of gambling, from its origins in divination rituals to the present-day global gaming industry where sites like Black Lotus lead the way. Schwartz takes readers on a thrilling journey through time, examining the evolution of betting games and the impact they have had on human civilization.
“Roll The Bones” covers a wide range of topics, from the use of knucklebones in prehistoric times, to the casting of lots in the Bible and Hindu writings, and the rise of table games such as baccarat in Venice.
Schwartz also delves into the role of lotteries in funding the first American colonies, the proliferation of illegal gambling during the twentieth century, and the transformation of Las Vegas into a major tourist destination. With colourful characters like Julius Caesar and Steve Wynn, “Roll the Bones” is an engaging and insightful exploration of humanity’s enduring fascination with chance.