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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison
Do you love reading and gambling at the same time? Well, we’ve selected the best gambling books you should read to boost your knowledge and skills. The books in this guide are written by experts with many years of experience in the gambling industry. Some have been inspired by their own life experiences, and others are essential tips and guides to help gamblers. Additionally, I have provided a synopsis of each book to help readers know what they are about before buying.
These are the top 7 gambling books you must read:
The Theory of Poker – David Sklansky
“The Theory of Poker” is a book written by David Sklansky, first published in 1987. It is considered one of the foundational texts in the study of poker strategy, and it covers a range of topics relevant to both beginners and experienced players.
The chapters of the book focus on a particular aspect of poker. The first chapter introduces the concept of “The Fundamental Theorem of Poker,” which states that a player’s objective should be to make the best decision based on available information. This sets the tone for the rest of the book, as Sklansky stresses the importance of making decisions based on sound reasoning rather than intuition or emotion.
Other chapters cover topics such as the importance of position, the concept of pot odds and expected value, bluffing and semi-bluffing, reading opponents, and the different types of hands that can be played in various poker games.
Sklansky also explains specific strategies for poker variants, such as Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud, and Lowball. He provides examples and analyses of hands and situations to illustrate his points and offers advice on adapting to different playing styles and table conditions.
Overall, “The Theory of Poker” provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental principles of poker strategy. While some specific methods and examples may be outdated, the book remains valuable for players looking to improve their understanding of the game.
Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich
“Bringing Down the House” is a book by Ben Mezrich, first published in 2002. It is about the true story of a group of MIT students who used card counting and other techniques to win millions of dollars playing blackjack in Las Vegas casinos.
The chapters of this book follow a group of students led by a charismatic leader named Kevin Lewis. These students develop their card-counting skills and use them to lower blackjack odds in their favour. Mezrich paints a vivid picture of the high-stakes world of gambling, complete with its glamour and danger, as well as the cat-and-mouse game between the students and the casinos that eventually catches up with them.
Along the way, he explains the history and mathematics of blackjack. Mezrich explains how card counting works and the various strategies used by the students to beat the house. He further talks about the psychology of gambling, the role of luck, and the ethical implications of cheating the system.
“Bringing Down the House” was adapted into the popular film “21” in 2008, which further popularized the story of the MIT blackjack team. While some have criticized the book for its dramatization of events and the use of composite characters, it remains a compelling and entertaining read that offers insight into high-stakes gambling and the lengths some will go to win big.
The Smart Money – Michael Konik
“The Smart Money” is a book by Michael Konik, first published in 2006. The story is about professional gamblers exploiting a loophole in the horse racing industry to win millions of dollars.
It has chapters that follow the lives of various gambling syndicate members, including Alan Woods and Bill Benter. These punters use their mathematics and computer science expertise to develop a system for predicting the outcomes of horse races. Konik provides insight into the intense intellectual and emotional pressure of the gambling world and how these gamblers navigate their relationships with one another and with the larger industry.
Along the way, he narrates the history and culture of horse racing and the political and economic forces that shape the industry. Konik also examines the ethical and legal implications of the syndicate’s activities as they push the boundaries of what is considered fair play and ultimately attract the attention of regulators.
“The Smart Money” is a gripping and informative read that offers a fascinating look into professional gambling and the individuals who have made their fortunes.
Roll the Bones – David G. Schwartz
“Roll the Bones” is a book by David G. Schwartz, first published in 2006. It is a complete history of gambling, from its earliest roots to the modern-day casino industry.
This fantastic book cover different eras and aspects of gambling, including ancient civilizations, the emergence of gambling in Europe, the birth of lotteries, the Outlawed Wild West era of gambling in America, and the growth of Las Vegas. Finally, he explains modern gambling destinations.
Schwartz explains the games, personalities, and cultural contexts that have shaped the gambling world. He also explores the social and political implications of gambling, including how gambling has been used to fund public projects and institutions and the controversies and conflicts that have arisen over issues such as addiction and organized crime.
“Roll the Bones” is well-researched, engaging, and offers a unique perspective on the role that gambling has played in human history and culture. Whether you are a seasoned gambler or simply interested in the history of this fascinating pastime, “Roll the Bones” is a must-read.
Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling – John Scarne
“Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling” is a book by John Scarne, first published in 1961. This book is an ultimate reference guide to all aspects of gambling. It covers everything, including the rules and strategies for a wide range of games and the history and culture of gambling.
The book covers various categories of games, such as card games, table games, dice games, and sports betting. Scarne provides detailed explanations of the rules and variations of each game, as well as tips and strategies for improving your odds of winning.
Additionally, the book has a wealth of general information about gambling, including the mathematics, the psychology of gambling, and the legal and ethical issues surrounding the industry. Scarne also provides a history of gambling, tracing its evolution from ancient times to the modern-day casino industry.
One of the unique aspects of the book is the inclusion of numerous illustrations and diagrams, which make it easy to understand the various games and strategies. Scarne’s writing style is engaging and accessible, making the book informative and entertaining.
Overall, “Scarne’s Complete Guide to Gambling” is a valuable resource for anyone interested in gambling, whether you are a beginner or an experienced player. It provides a wealth of information and insights into the gambling world and will be a valuable addition to any gambling enthusiast’s library.
Sharp Sports Betting – Stanford Wong
“Sharp Sports Betting” is a book written by Stanford Wong, first published in 2001. This book is a complete guide to sports betting, providing readers with strategies and advice for maximizing their chances of winning.
The book covers different aspects of sports betting, including betting basics, understanding odds and probabilities, handicapping games, and managing a bankroll. Wong provides in-depth explanations and examples throughout the book, making it easy for readers to understand and apply the concepts to their betting strategies.
One of the unique aspects of the book is the emphasis on mathematical analysis and statistics. Wong explains how to use data and probability theory to identify profitable betting opportunities and provides examples of calculating and interpreting betting lines and point spreads.
In addition, Wong also explains the psychological and emotional aspects, such as the importance of discipline and avoiding common pitfalls like chasing losses. He also provides a history of sports betting. He explores the industry’s current state, including the rise of online sportsbooks and the legal and regulatory issues surrounding sports betting in different jurisdictions.
Overall, “Sharp Sports Betting” is a valuable resource for anyone interested in sports betting, whether you are a novice or an experienced bettor. It provides a wealth of information and insights into sports betting and will help readers improve their betting strategies and outcomes.
The Gambler – Fyodor Dostoevsky
“The Gambler” is a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in 1867. The book tells the story of Alexei Ivanovich, a young tutor obsessed with gambling and risks everything he has in pursuit of a big win.
Set in a fictional European casino town, the novel explores the psychology of addiction and the destructive power of gambling. Alexei is the story’s protagonist and narrator, and his descent into obsession is charted in great detail. He becomes increasingly irrational and reckless in his pursuit of fortune, risking not only his own money but also that of his friends and family.
Throughout the novel, Dostoevsky explores class, power, and relationship themes. Alexei is drawn to Polina, a young woman from a wealthy family who is also struggling with her issues of identity and control. Their relationship is complicated by their class differences and Alexei’s gambling addiction, which threatens to destroy everything he cares about.
“The Gambler” is widely regarded as one of Dostoevsky’s most personal and autobiographical works, reflecting his own struggles with gambling addiction and financial ruin. It is also considered a classic of Russian literature and has been adapted into numerous films, plays, and operas over the years.
Overall, “The Gambler” is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of addiction and its consequences and a compelling portrait of human nature and its capacity for both strength and weakness.
Note: If you are a movie fan, check out my previous post on The Best Gambling Movies to Watch in 2023. You will find a list of the latest movies you can watch over the weekend or in your own free time. Additionally, you will find detailed articles, reviews, and guides to online gambling.