The Top 5 Books About Gambling

Whether you enjoy playing live casino or traditional RNG casino games, there are some fascinating books out there that can teach you about the greatest gambling experiences, as well as the most impressive gamblers who have made their mark on history. Here are our five favourite books, in no particular order.

1. A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market – Edward O Thorp

Amazon rating: 4.5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.23/5
Price: Approximately £14 (paperback)

Edward O Thorp was the man who changed blackjack gambling forever. Born in 1932, Thorp was an American mathematician and professor who developed the system of card counting, and used it to give anyone who used his system an edge over blackjack at the casino. He also developed hedge-fund investing techniques to beat what some may consider the ultimate casino: Wall Street. 
Published in 2017, A Man for All Markets tells the story of Thorp’s encounters with powerful and dangerous men, as well as some of the greatest mathematical and financial minds we’ve ever known. This book is not just about gambling and blackjack, though: it can also give you insights into how investing works and how to make the most of your own investments.

Why we love it

Learning about how this brilliant man used his intellect to make himself incredibly wealthy is a great story, and the fact that it is incredibly detailed and engaging makes it an even more worthwhile read.

2. Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich

Amazon rating: 4.5/5
Goodreads rating: 3.90/5
Price: Approximately £9 (paperback)

In the US, a group of MIT students form a blackjack team with the aim of learning “card counting”, and getting rich. The story follows Kevin Lewis, who joined the team and was eager to help them achieve their goals. Despite things going according to plan for our card-counting experts, the casinos soon found out what was going on. Not long after they started raking in millions, the MIT team discovered they had upset some dangerous and powerful people.
This story was originally published as a non-fiction book in 2002, but it received some negative press after journalists did some digging and found out that Mezrich may have significantly altered the original story and characters beyond the point of recognition. That said, Bringing Down the House is still a highly entertaining read, even if it falls more into the category of fiction. The story was also adapted into a film that was released in 2008, although the name was changed to 21 to avoid confusion with another movie that already used that name. Despite critic’s reviews of the film being quite negative, the movie was well received by cinema audiences and went on to make £115.73 million.

Why we love it

Yes, Mezrich may have exaggerated the story so much that it should probably no longer be considered non-fiction, but it’s still a highly entertaining and gripping story.

3. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells – Mike Caro

Amazon rating: 4.2/5
Goodreads rating: 3.59/5
Price: Approximately £6 (ebook)

Players who spend a lot of time at the poker tables know that sometimes you need to play the cards… and sometimes you need to play the player. This is where Mike Caro’s book comes in, by giving you clear, easy-to-understand advice on how to read your opponent’s behaviour, and how you can use this to your advantage.
The lessons in Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, published in 2003, may apply more to playing poker in real life than online; nevertheless, the book still gives complete beginners some vital insights into understanding how other players think and feel, and how you can read their “tells” through their body language and facial expressions. However, more experienced players will know that the best poker players have also mastered the art of false tells, so this book may be less useful at the highest levels of play.

Why we love it

While we may be playing online poker more than regular poker games, the invaluable knowledge in this book is undoubtedly great for when we do get together to play poker offline.

4. Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System that Beat the Casinos and Wall Street – William Poundstone

Amazon rating: 4.5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.19/5
Price: Approximately £6.50 (paperback)

Not everyone can see great opportunities, but once in a while, a person will come along and see something that no-one else has spotted and use it to their advantage. This is exactly what happened when not one, but two Bell Labs scientists, Claude Shannon and John L Kelly Jr, realised they could use the science of information theory to make a whole lot of money. In Fortune’s Formula, first published in 2005, we discover how these great minds were able to use a keen understanding of mathematics to make themselves unbelievably rich.
William Poundstone’s book goes nicely alongside A Man for All Markets, as it also features MIT mathematician Edward O Thorp: it discusses how he and Shannon used what they learned to make money in Las Vegas before setting their sights on the stock market. 

Why we love it

This book is a great partner to the first book on our list, and helps give you a more complete account of what happened with these great minds who decided to turn their knowledge into wealth. We also love the fact that it touches on so many subjects, even if others may find this a weakness.

5. Scarne’s New Complete Guide to Gambling – John Scarne

Amazon rating: 4.4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.11/5
Price: Approximately £6 (paperback)

First published in 1961, Scarne’s New Complete Guide to Gambling has been updated throughout the years to offer beginners and experienced players alike the best insights into gambling and what you need to know to get the most out of gambling games. John Scarne, a former gambling consultant, shares information on various aspects of the games, including official rules, house percentages, strategies to win, and even how others might attempt to scam you. 
While Scarne may be seen as a somewhat controversial figure owing to his attempts to discredit Thorp’s card-counting system, many have relied on his book to improve their  understanding of how different gambling games work.

Why we love it

While this may not be the most up-to-date book on our list, it’s a classic part of gambling literature and deserves a spot on every casino lovers bookshelf.
Once you’re done reading, it’s time to play at Lucky VIP
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/ 28 April 2021