Grand Central Publishing and Iris Johansens HIGH SAKES

All bets are taken as New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen introduces the player Logan Tanner. He lives the exciting life of a professional gamer, but behind all the glitz and glamor hides a dark and violent past as an extractor – a world that returns to him when the beautiful and innocent Lara Balkon steps into his life. Logan is drawn into a conflict between two Russian mafia bosses over Lara, and her life is at stake. But Tanner will discover that Lara herself is a force to be reckoned with.

Ahh, the art of gambling. They come in all shapes and sizes: from the poker table to jumping into life, we all live a game of chance. It seems like we all gamble on a daily basis when we’re not even sure what a quick ride to the market could become. But this list leads you to the classic art of gambling – which takes place in the middle of gambling halls, surrounded by people and their ambitions. After playing poker a few times myself, I find the allure of it, the intoxication of winning, the harrowing feeling after losing, the willingness to do it all over again.

The books in this list below cover all aspects of gambling – the reasons people do it, the places they do it, and the circumstances it can drag them into.

Get ready, make a decision, and place your best bets on this engaging reads.

Books on Gamblers and Gambling

Book covers for cards are on the table

Cards on the table by Agatha Christie

To start this list, I must first mention one of my personal favorites. If you’ve ever read Agatha Christie, her books always feel as nerve-wracking as a gamble. You are never sure what motivations someone has or who is giving them away.

In this book about Christie’s famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot is introduced to a fabulous art collector, Mr. Shaitana. Shaitana promises to show Poirot his collection while playing a bridge with some of his guests. As the party begins, so do the games, which stall when Shaitana is found dead – stabbed in the chest with a stiletto from his own collection.

Book cover for The Last Chance

Darrien Lee’s last chance

This is one that offers both gambling and a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run a casino. Running their Los Angeles casino has paid off for the Chance brothers. Now it is said on the street that a plan to take over their casino is underway that could end up costing the Chance family more than their lives. Until her 25-year-old sister Keilah Chance comes home for a short visit. As fierce as it is beautiful, Keilah is determined to protect her family heritage at all costs and will stop at nothing.

Book cover for The Right Mistake

The correct mistake from Walter Mosley

This is a book that covers gamblers more than gambling itself. Socrates Fortlow, who lives in South Central LA, is a 60-year-old ex-inmate who is still strong enough to kill men with his bare hands. After 27 years in prison, he is deeply guilty and ready to turn inward. Together with his player friend Billy Psalms, Socrates calls together locals of all races from their various social stations to hold meetings of a thinkers’ club where everyone can discuss life’s unanswerable questions.

Book cover for Death on the Flop

Death on the Flop by Jackie Chance

This is a cozy Vegas mystery set! Belinda Cooley agrees to accompany her twin brother Ben to Las Vegas for an amateur Texas Hold’em tournament. What she didn’t see coming is her brother’s disappearance hours before the game – and now Belinda has to play poker in his place to save his place, oh and also find out where her brother is.

Book cover for Dreaming of You

Dream about you about Lisa Kleypas

If you haven’t had a chance to see an arcade in a historical romance, this is a treat for you. Gambling halls provide the perfect backdrop for our heroes and their daring ways. An equally excellent backdrop for our heroines to stop by after work and scandalize everyone.

In this second book in a series, which can be read in any order, we have Sara Fielding, a writer who, for her latest novel, wants to observe the workings of London’s underground gambling halls, including the most famous gambling club of all, Craven’s, and the infamous Man who runs it. Derek Craven, the master of Craven Hall, grew up in the rough streets of London learning how to make money by whatever means necessary and eventually raised enough fortune to run a popular, thriving gaming club. Now he is faced with a danger from which he does not know how to protect himself.

Book cover for The Gambler

The player by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Like all of Dostoevsky’s works, this reading breaks up the psychological mechanization of man. This novella is actually based on the author’s roulette addiction. Alexey, a young tutor, tries to achieve more than he can, but instead finds himself caught in a vicious circle of betting and selling. The description of the casino, the types of players and the grasping of the desire to win, all these are some of the observations in which Dostoevsky excels. If you are traveling to 19th century Russia and want to see what gambling happened back then, follow him.

Book cover for Tishomingo Blues

Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard

At the center of our story is the daredevil Dennis Lenahan, who brought his show to the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi – he dives from a 25-meter ladder into 2.50 meters of water to watch players, gangsters and beauties amuse yourself. But when he witnesses an act of violence shortly before his appearance, he is the focus of the attention he has chosen.

Book cover for Widows in Law

Michele W. Miller’s widow-in-law

In this exciting story we have three women, Lauren, Jessica and Emily, whose fates are linked to the death of a man. Secrets of past debt and discretion come alive in an attempt to salvage the man’s estate. A gangster wanted his money back and the three women feel about it in the dark.

Book cover for The Noble Hustle

The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Death by Colson Whitehead

This is the only non-fiction book here, but one that definitely deserves a mention. Whitehead is a writer with incredible reach. From dystopian to historical to a poker game for a job, he tells his story with ease. After weeks of preparation with repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City and the hiring of a personal trainer to train him to sit for twelve hours, the author traveled to the colorful wonderland of Las Vegas to try his luck in a multi-million dollar tournament. Whitehead didn’t win tens of millions of dollars, but he’s taking us away.