We’ve all heard at least one story about someone going on a vacation to Las Vegas and coming home with thousands of dollars in winnings — leaving the rest of us to wonder how they did it. Well, before you hop on a plane to try your own luck in sin city, I recommend checking out some of the following books about gambling.
Learn the Games
If you have very little prior experience gambling, then definitely start by reading about the game or games you wish to play. I recommend diving into “Gambling 102: The Best Strategies for All Casino Games” by Michael Shakleford. This all-inclusive guide explains the rules of all the games you will encounter on the casino floor. It also dives deep into the house edge and statistics of winning behind each game and is a great place to start your gambling journey.
After you finish Gambling 102, it’s a good idea to move on to read “American Casino Guide 2019” By Steven Bourie. This book is unique in that it is re-written each year, so you can be assured all the information in it is almost always up to date. As of the writing of this article, the 2020 version hasn’t been released, but should be done by the middle of the year. This book not only gives information about playing in casinos, but also provides strategies on how to win different games. American Casino guide is highly rated and a best seller on Amazon. Even if you aren’t looking to game, this book is invaluable as it also provides information about lodging, food, and bonuses found at all sorts of casinos across the USA.
Although the books above cover all games present in the casino, if you’re looking to learn poker I recommend reading a little deeper. Poker is a very technical and complicated game which can take years to master. To further your education, check out the book “The Biggest Game in Town” by Al Alvarez. This is an older book, published in 1983, so some of the information might be outdated, however, it is the most comprehensive guide on the market into the world of poker, especially for those who wish to play in the World Series of Poker.
For those of you who don’t live near a casino but still wish to read about and learn some betting strategies, I recommend checking out the free “Betting Strategies” guide published on the website MintDice.com. MintDice is an online casino that accepts Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for payment. The free guides they provide are a great tool to use both on their website, as well as in a casino. For more information on how to use their website, click here.
Read the True Stories
Of course reading books about techniques and strategy can be overwhelming — and boring — so if you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, but still applicable, check out “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” by Ben Mezrich. This book is the true story of college students who learned to card count and won millions of dollars from casinos. While this book may be inspiring, keep in mind card counting is illegal, and the students in the book did face many consequences for their actions.
On the other end of the spectrum is the book “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time” by Michael Craig. This book is about a banker named Andy Beal who strives to try and beat some of the most well known poker players at their own game. While you don’t have to be a poker player to read this book, you do need to have some basic poker knowledge, so I suggest checking out one of the books listed in the beginning of the article before pursuing this title.
Some of you may be interested in the historical side of gambling, and for those readers, I recommend picking up the book “Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling” by David G Schwartz. The entire history of gambling, as well as the evolution of the most well known games, is outlined in its pages. Published in 2006, this is one of the most current books published in this genre.
Now the history of gambling would not be complete without the mentioning of the Mob and it’s involvement in the building of the city of Las Vegas. Check out the book “When the Mob Ran Vegas” by Steve Fisher. This is an easy and light read that covers the general involvement of the Mob in the evolution of gambling.
This list of books would not be complete without suggesting the reading of the book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream” by Hunter S. Thompson. This book is probably the most famous on this list, and is about a fictional character but claims to be based on autobiographical events which occurred in Thompson’s life. This novel can be hard to read, as much of it is said to have occurred while high on illicit drugs leading to hallucinations. The book takes place in the 1960’s in Las Vegas, earning it a spot in the history category, although many of the lessons in the book are still applicable today.
Reading a book cover to cover is quite a feat, and it could take some time to read all seven books listed in this article. To save time, there are movie adaptations of some of the books I discussed. For learning the games, there is no shortcut movie, however, you can check out the free guides on MintDice, or even search for videos on YouTube. As for the true stories, Bringing Down the House was adapted into a movie in 2008 titled “21” however, upon further evaluation, many critics believe what is depicted in the movie does not follow the true story and doesn’t match the book as closely as one would hope. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was also made into a movie in 1998. This movie follows the book well, but received mixed reviews — so you’ll have to watch it yourself and make your own decision.
Of course this article could not list all the books on the market about gambling — just the most famous ones. If you’re really interested in reading about gambling, check out the Amazon best sellers list for gambling books, just make sure if you are reading something in order to learn, check the date it was published to ensure you are learning the most recent information.