As we see it, there’s nothing more interesting than a book about gambling. And you’ve got plenty to choose from!
Gambling has been a popular subject for over a hundred years, long before the appearance of online casinos. And now you can find everything from classic stories about Las Vegas to guides on how today’s mathematicians are beating the house.
But you’ll want to make sure you pick something good: there are still plenty of con artists selling fake “winning systems”, too. So save yourself the trouble and check out something from our Ultimate Reading List.
The Biggest Game in Town by Al Alvarez
Whether you’re a poker fanatic or are just fascinated by Las Vegas, Al Alvarez’s The Biggest Game in Town is a must-read.
The book takes you through Alvarez’s first trip to Las Vegas for the 1981 World Series of Poker. You’ll be surprised with what you learn about the Las Vegas poker scene, from the master players and their winning tricks to the tales of desperate amateurs looking for luck.
It’s not hard to see why this first-hand account made the world fall in love with the game of Texas Hold’em.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich
Everyone’s heard about card counting, but no one’s done it quite like the pros from MIT. Bringing Down the House will show you how they did it, as well as all the troubles they faced along the way from the casinos, their loved ones, and each other.
It’s more than just a card counting book: it’s a damn good story.
Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling by David G. Schwartz
Gambling is old. Really old. And Roll the Bones will take you through its entire evolution, starting thousands of years in the past.
In this compelling read, Schwartz details how craps has survived through countless wars and centuries, the influence of gambling on religion and culture, and how we’re growing to love gambling more every year.
American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling: Winning Ways by Andrew Brisman
If you want to understand casino games like a pro, the American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling is an essential piece of reading.
In this book, Andrew Brisman takes you through the basics of probability and shows you how the casinos are able to stay in business. He also shows you how you can use this information to improve your chances of winning. Plus, it’s a lot more entertaining than a textbook!
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler is the ultimate cautionary tale. This 1867 novella details the life of a young apprentice who develops an addiction to the local casino’s roulette table, costing him much more than his wages. It’s not a happy story by any means, but it is a good reminder of why you should always keep a level head when you play.
Casino by Nicholas Pileggi
As the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s hit film Goodfellas, Casino may just be the most famous gambling story of all.
This thrilling novel is all about the Mafia’s reign over Las Vegas through most of the 20th century. It chronicles the lives of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro, whose multi-million casino empire starts to crumble.
If you love sex, violence, and betrayal as much as the next person, Casino is worth checking out.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Casino might be the most well-known gambling story, but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is definitely the strangest.
Some say it’s a captivating satire on the rise of American greed. Others say it’s a drug-fueled piece of nonsense. Either way, Thompson’s story has had a lasting impact, both through this novel and through its 1998 film adaptation.
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Very few books have had the cultural impact of Casino Royale and its breakout lead, James Bond.
This 1953 novel takes you through Agent 007’s first ever mission as he tries to bring down Le Cheffre, head of the evil SMERSH agency, in a not-so-friendly game of baccarat. And of course, like all Bond stories, there’s plenty of gunfire and romance too!
Gambling 102 by Michael Shackleford
Better known as the Wizard of Odds, Michael Shackleford has become one of the most well-known gambling gurus.
His book Gambling 102 takes you beyond just understanding casino games to showing you how to play them the best you can. And there’s more to it than just blackjack: Gambling 102 offers optimal strategies for 19 different games, all based on real mathematics and professional analysis.
The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren
Widely considered one of the most important pieces of post-WWII literature, The Man with the Golden Arm is a true classic.
The novel tells the story of Francis Majcinek, a former prisoner and veteran who struggles to stay clean from heroin as he deals shady card games in Chicago’s Northwest Side. The story was even made into a 1950s film starring Frank Sinatra.
Add to Our List
Have you read any of these books? Or, is there another book about gambling that you’ve fallen in love with? Either way, we’d love to hear about it. Just drop us a comment below.