Over the years we’ve seen tons of exciting books published that take place in casinos – think Casino Royale, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasand Molly’s Game. It’s an exciting choice of setting, as the ups and downs of the casino world make for super exciting reads. The stakes (and emotions!) are often high and, as any casino regular knows, there are plenty of varied and interesting characters sitting around the poker table. The roulette of life spins in these thrilling novels and we’ve compiled a list of the best casino books for you here!
The world of gambling has seen many developments over the years, from its beginnings in the most famous haunts of Las Vegas to eventually becoming the huge global stage that we see on the internet today. If you’re looking for book recommendations in the gaming world, look no further!
We start with arguably the most famous novel in the casino world – Ian Fleming Casino Royale (published April 13, 1953). As Fleming’s first novel and James Bond’s first book, Casino Royale kicked off the thrilling world of James Bond and the many novels, films and other creative pieces set in the world of James Bond ever since.
It’s crazy to think how much the world has changed since James Bond first entered our world in the fifties. A modern Bond might have logged into an online account, rather than setting foot on the casino floor. And if you’re looking for the fastest online casinos, then you’re in luck – here’s a list, so you can sign up for your own license to experience the thrill!
The novel sees 007 playing an intense game of baccarat at the casino at Royale-les-Eaux in France. The gameplay doesn’t end at the table, as Bond eventually finds himself in hot water following the events of the game. Casino Royale received a positive response from critics and remains one of the most iconic casino books of all time – start here!
The double and the player
It’s time for a classic – no list would be complete without Dostoyevsky’s 1867 novel, The player. It’s a short read and seems to clearly reflect the author’s own gaming obsessions. Told from an intriguing first-person perspective, the novel contains the ups and downs of the roulette table, as well as some tumultuous love stories and personal drama.
It’s a fascinating insight into the world of casinos of yore, and suitable for Dostoyevsky fans and newbies alike. It could almost be considered an autobiography, since the events of the short story are so close to the events of the author’s own life. Written in 30 days, and an even faster read, we highly recommend checking out this classic gamer’s tale.
Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas
Another timeless novel is Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Wild Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. Here we follow two men on their drug-addicted journey, chasing their notions of the American dream through a mixed lens of fact and fiction (we’re guessing you might be familiar with the 1998 film of the same name).
While reading Fear and hatred we follow Raoul Duke and his lawyer, Dr. Gonzo, to Las Vegas, and watch all the mayhem as they use various recreational drugs along the way. It’s an interesting reflection on cultural change in the late 60s, and has often been compared to Gatsby the magnificent in his vision of the American dream. This is not one to miss.
The house always wins
A bit of a curveball is the least known novel, The house always wins by Brian Rouff. Published in 2017, it’s a more modern book that combines different genres – here you’ll find a coming-of-age novel and a haunting ghost story in equal measure. The protagonist, Anna Christiansen, is a small-town girl whose life is turned upside down when she moves into a haunted house in Vegas. She ends up fighting a corrupt casino owner who wants to buy her place, and the story unfolds dramatically from there. It’s certainly a lesser-known book, but we loved this fast-paced mystery and highly recommend checking it out. There are definitely the thrills and ups and downs of Las Vegas – we’ll let you find out if the house wins this time.
Well, we have it – it’s certainly not an exhaustive list of all casino-based books, but we thought these were some of the best places to start if you’re interested in the genre. Good reading!
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.