Best gambling books

The gambling world is a weird and wonderful place, full of action, suspense and scandals. Whether you want to know more about the history of gambling, hone your gambling strategy or just want to be blown away by some of the biggest casino misadventures, check out our list of five of the best books about gambling, and our list of the best books to learn casino games.

Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich

Bringing Down the House gambling bookFeaturing the by-line ‘The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions’ this bestseller book was the inspiration for the movie 21 starring Kevin Spacey. This true tale is written by Boston author Ben Mezrich and follows the almost unbelievable story of a group of highly intelligent MIT students who form a blackjack team and begin employing the card counting strategies popularised by Edward Thorpe in order to beat the house.

With the use of card counting, mathematics and intricate disguises, the MIT blackjack team managed to win close to $4 million. While these card counting techniques weren’t entirely illegal, the practice was firmly frowned upon and the deterrent efforts enforced by casino operators along with several conflicts within the group eventually lead to the demise of the team. A fascinating read about blackjack strategy, card counting casino logistics and greed.

The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King by Michael Craig

The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King gambling novelIf you’re interested in the world of high stakes poker, this book is for you. The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King follows the story of the highest stake poker game of all time, which spanned a length of a few years and involved American billionaire Andrew Beal and several of Vegas’ best professional poker players. You’ll need to have a keen interest in poker or at least understand the fundamentals of poker to get into this book, but the high stake nature of the games will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas forms the backdrop for the book, while intriguing characters with bankrolls most of us could only ever dream about make for entertaining reading. If you’re ever wondered what it would be like to place a minimum bet of $20K or lose $16 million in two days, The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King is your best bet.

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus

Positively Fifth Street gambling bookPart psychological insight, part crime thriller and part comedy, this true memoir provides a bizarre mix of events that somehow came together to form a highly entertaining tale.

The book is written by journalist James McManus who is sent by his employer Harper’s Magazine to cover the 2000 World Series of Poker. McManus’s main duty is to focus on the participation of women in this $23 million event while also covering the trial of the murder of Ted Binion who first started the WSOP.

Things get interesting when McManus decides to use his advance from Harper’s to enter the poker tournament himself. It’s a great insight into the odd atmosphere and characters that make up this famous event while also divulging the fundamental competitive nature of the human mind.


Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling by David G. Schwartz

Roll the Bones: The History of GamblingHistory buffs and gambling enthusiasts take note – if there’s one book you should read to gain an understanding of the complex history of gambling then let it be this one.

Informative and highly fascinating, Roll the Bones dates gambling all the way back to prehistoric times, following its transformation through Biblical and Hindu writings, the pinnacle of Greek and Roman civilisation, the middle ages and eventually to the casino and gaming culture that we know today.

The book tells how gambling thrived during wars, how criminal groups started underground gambling enterprises and how those big gambling dollars helped to transform the tourism industry. You’ll be amazed by how big an impact gambling has played in history and how the games you love today have their roots centuries ago.

The Smart Money: How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of Millions by Michael Konik

The Smart Money: How the World's Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of MillionsIn The Smart Money, journalist Michael Konik takes us into the secret world of sports betting operations in America, fully immersing himself into his own story to reveal just how he and his cohorts became filthy rich by beating the system.

As an experienced poker and blackjack player, when Konik begins this book the biggest sports bet he’d ever placed was $200.

After landing an interview with sports betting bigwig Rick Matthews (AKA Big Daddy) known to be the smartest sports bettor in the world, Konik is lured by the offer to make some big money in the upcoming football season. This sparks a series of events that sees Konik find his place on the inside of The Brain Trust gambling group, detailing the betrayals, the excess, the paranoia and the perks of the high stakes sport betting world.

If books aren’t really your thing, for more hints and tips about gambling you can avoid the books and read our informative guides instead:

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