Take a Gamble Booklist - Fiction & Nonfiction

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Books about gambling and gamblers - especially poker and poker players.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.


  • The Music of Chance
    Author: Auster, Paul
    Publisher: Viking $ 18.95 ISBN: 0670835358 Date: 1990
    From one of America's most original and startlingly imaginative writers, a novel with "all the suspense and pace of a bestselling thriller".--The New York Times. A fireman and a gambler enter a poker game with two rich eccentrics, "risking everything on the single blind turn of a card". What results is the product of a world of fiendish bargains and punitive whims.
  • The Hiding Place
    Author: Azzopardi, Trezza
    Publisher: Atlantic $ 24 ISBN: 0871138158 Date: 2000
    star Kirkusstar LJ
    This exceptional novel about family, love, and the innocence and terror of childhood was one of the most applauded and auspicious debuts of the last year. Set in a Maltese immigrant community in Cardiff, Wales, and peopled with sharp-edged, luminously drawn characters, The Hiding Place is the story of Frankie Gauci's unforgivable betrayal: gambling away his family's livelihood and eventually the family itself.
  • Tricky Business
    Author: Barry, Dave
    Publisher: Putnam $ 24.95 ISBN: 0399149244 Date: 2002
    Barry follows his acclaimed debut novel Big Trouble with a book that "leads readers into a crazy complexity of money laundering, drug dealing, murder, sex, violence, hijacking, and undercover work" (Library Journal).
  • Bob the Gambler
    Barthelme, Frederick
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin List Price: $ 23 ISBN: 0395809770 Date: 1997
    star PWstar Bookliststar Kirkus
    NYTBR Notable
    Entertaining and refreshing story of a "junk culture" couple's adventures in the Paradise casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The tale abounds with curious happenings and lots of just plain fun characters.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
  • Headlock
    Author: Berlin, Adam
    Publisher: Algonquin $ 21.95 ISBN: 1565122666 Date: 2000
    star Booklist
    Updated 4/17/00
  • Oscar and Lucinda
    Author: Carey, Peter
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 18.95 ISBN: 0060159081 Date: 1988
    The Booker Prize-winning novel that catapulted Peter Carey into international literacy celebrity is a romance of the kind that could only take place in 19th-century Australia. And only Carey's fervid imagination could implicate the main characters in a fecund narrative of love and commerce, religion and colonialism, whose climactic episode is a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.
  • Bet Me
    Author: Crusie, Jennifer
    Publisher: St Martins $ 22.95 ISBN: 0312303467 Date: 2004
    star Kirkus
    The biggest gamble of all is true love in this story about long shots, risk management, and great shoes--the best novel yet from the author of Faking It.
    Updated 12.10.03
  • Girl's Poker Night
    Author: Davis, Jill A.
    Publisher: Random ISBN: 0375505148 Date: 2002
    When cub reporter Ruby falls for her boss, all bets are off. He's a challenge, he's her editor, and he wants her to stop being quippy and clever and become the writer--and the woman--he knows she can be. But what happens when she realizes Mr. Right has his own unresolved past?
    Suggested Reading: Chicklit Stars

  • Let Loose the Dogs
    Author: Jennings, Maureen
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 24.95 ISBN: 0312307519 Date: 2003
    Set in late 19th-century Toronto, this deft mystery series brings alive an era as it follows the investigations of acting-detective William Murdoch. In Let Loose the Dogs, he attempts to clear his father of murder and enters into the lively world of the "ratters"--an illegal gambling ring where bets are placed on which dogs can kill the most rats during a given period.
  • The Wild Card
    Author: Joseph, Mark
    Publisher: St Martins $ 24.95 ISBN: 0312261209 Date: 2001
    Five men spend a wild weekend playing cards and drinking, and end up with a dark secret that will change their lives forever.
  • Bucking the Tiger
    Author: Olds, Bruce
    Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux $ 23 ISBN: 0374117276 date: 2001
    star Kirkusstar Library Journal
    Evoking Doc Holliday's checkered careers as a frontier dentist, itinerant saloon gambler, professional faro dealer, and occasional shootist (including his involvement in the fabled gunfight at the OK Corral), Bucking the Tiger displaces the popular image of the Latin-spouting serial killer with the reality of a self-afflicted human being.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | Western Stars
    Updated 8/24/01
  • Last Call
    Author: Powers, Tim
    Publisher: $ ISBN: Date:
    Set in Las Vegas, Last Call concerns the fate of Scott Crane, former professional gambler, recent widower, blind in one eye--and also the lost natural son of the man who is determined to kill him. In this novel, Crane is forced to resume the high-stakes game of a lifetime--and wager it all.
  • 4th and Fixed: When the Mob Tackles Football, It's No Longer Just a Game
    Author: Rivers, Reggie
    Publisher: Sourcebook $ 24 ISBN: 1402202199 Date: 2004
    A stunning novel about a pair of memorable wiseguys who against all odds fix a season's worth of NFL games. Written by Six-season NFL player Reggie Rivers

  • Funny Money: Tony Valentine
    Author: Swain, James
    Publisher: Pocket $ 24 ISBN: 0743436865 Date: 2002
    star PW
    After making the mystery scene in a big way with the acclaimed Grift Sense, the author serves up a crackling new Tony Valentine caper. This time around, it's personal: Valentine's ex-partner Doyle Flanagan has been blown to pieces by a car bomb and Tony is on the case.
    Also: Grift Sense, Sucker Bet.
    Updated 3/28/02
  • Sucker Bet: Tony Valentine
    Author: Swain, James
    Publisher: Ballantine $ 19.95 ISBN: 0345461754 Date: 2003
    In prose that sizzles with style and a wicked sense of humor, Swain takes readers behind the neon-lit scenes of casinos and the gambling trade--and reveals a colorful band of hustlers and con men, bookies and grifters.
  • The Perfect Play
    Author: Wener, Louise
    Publisher: Morrow $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060585471 Date: 2004
    star LJ
    A young woman risks everything in search of her deadbeat professional poker playing father in this novel of high stakes, lost love and poker.
    Updated 4.20.04
  • Also:

    The Man With the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren
    City of Widows by Loren D. Estleman
    Titans by Tim Green
    Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber
    An Albany Trio by William Kennedy
    Tropical Depression by Laurence Shames


  • Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss
    Author: Barthelme, Frederick & Stephen
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin $ 24 ISBN: 0395954290 Date: 1999
    star LJstar PW
    Two brothers recount their harrowing journey from a stable home life to loss of family and an all-encompassing obsession with gambling.
    Updated 4.20.04
  • Poker Nation
    Author: Bellin, Andy
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 23.95 ISBN: 0060199032 Date: 2002
    Bellin takes readers on a fun and mesmerizing journey into the obsessive world of professional poker, where "the only thing stranger than a poker player is the guy sitting next to him."
    Updated 4.26.04
  • Something for Nothing: Luck in America
    Author: Lears, Jackson
    Publisher: Viking $ 27.95 ISBN: 0670031739 Date: 2003
    star Library Journal
    An award-winning historian offers a provocative alternative history of America that traces how luck, chance, and gambling have shaped and defined the national character. As surprising as it is illuminating, this is cultural history at its best.
    Updated 1.29.03
  • Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers
    Author: Lederer, Katy
    Publisher: Crown $ 23.95 ISBN: 0609608983 Date: 2003
    star PW
    Lederer's two siblings would go on to become world class gamblers and her father a bestselling author, but her childhood was far from glamorous. In Poker Face, she renders the strange and at times funny story of her family's and her own trajectory through the world.
    Updated 6.25.03
  • Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker
    Author: McManus, James
    Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux $ 26 ISBN: 0374236488 Date: 2003
    star PW
    Written in the tradition of The Gambler and The Biggest Game in Town, Positively Fifth Street is a high-stakes Las Vegas adventure, a penetrating study of America's card game, and a terrifying but often hilarious account of one man's effort to understand the eros and logistics of man's primary competitive instincts.
    Updated 3.3.03
  • 24/7: Living It Up and Doubling Down in the New Las Vegas
    Author: Martinez, Andres
    Publisher: Villard $ 25 ISBN: 0375501819 Date: 1999
    star Kirkus
    A book that does for the shiny new Las Vegas what Fear and Loathing did for its seedy ancestor, written by a journalist living out everyone's high rollerdreams.
    Updated 4.20.04
  • Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
    Author: Mezrich, Ben
    Publisher: Free Press $ 24 ISBN: 0743225708 Date: 2002
    An exclusive blackjack club came up with a system to take the world's most sophisticated casinos for all they were worth. In two years, this ring of card savants earned more than three million dollars. Filled with tense action and incredibly close calls, this is a real-life adventure that could have stepped straight out of a Hollywood film.
  • Read 'em and Weep: A Bedside Poker Companion
    Author: Stravinsky, John (editor)
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 19.95 ISBN: 0060559586 Date: 2004
    The first-ever collection of classic poker writing; the perfect gift for everyone who's ever played the game.

Seeing Stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

2012 Lists

more stars lists...

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)


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