Odds Are Santa’s Ready, Are You?

Casino Books for the Gambler in Your Family This Christmas

Have you ever noticed you can’t bet against Santa Claus? Not a bookmaker in the world would offer such a wager and no sharp would take it. Why? Because jolly old Saint Nicholas has proven time and again that he’s a guaranteed lock to win. Think about it. He rolls the dice each year and hopes that his little helpers in the North Pole will make enough gifts, one for every little boy and girl in the world, and he never ‘sevens out.’ Then, on Christmas Eve, he goes ‘all-in’ that all the presents will get delivered on time for Christmas morning and always makes a full house. He never loses. It’s almost as if Rudolph’s red nose doubles as the flashing red light of a winning slot machine, just to remind him he’s hitting jackpots along the way. Yes, Kris Kringle is the ultimate gambler.

It’s an impressive feat, to pull off the impossible journey each year, especially considering the amount of cargo he has to transport. This year will be no exception as Santa and his reindeer will be pulling extra weight thanks to the plethora of poker, gambling and casino books available. It’s a scroll almost as long as Santa’s ’Naughty & Nice’ list.

Are you stuck on that perfect gift for the gambler in your family? Team Maple has you covered. Here’s a selection of titles to help ease your shopping load over the holidays. You may have seen our piece last week titled, The Sky’s the Limit: How a Billionaire Tried to Turn the Tabes of the World’s Best Poker Players, about Michael Craig’s excellent narrative, The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King.


Beat the Dealer book cover

Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One

Edward O. Thorpe

With well over one million copies in print, the experts agree this is the book that made Las Vegas change the rules of blackjack. Edward O. Thorpe is the father of card counting and shares his revolutionary ‘point’ system that has been used successfully by countless professional and amateur card players for years.

Beat the Dealer was released in 1966 and is a New York Times best-seller. Besides the basic rules of the game, it provides winning strategies, techniques to overcome casino counter measures and all the charts and tables required to effectively beat the game. The 87 year old Thorpe has authored seven casino books, including Fortune’s Formula and The Mathematics of Gambling.

Bringing down the house book cover

Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

Ben Mezrich

This national bestseller came to life on the big screen with the major motion picture 21, starring Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth. It tells the remarkable story of a team of card counters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and how its members managed to win big.

In less than two years, the team bilked some of the world’s most sophisticated casinos for more than three million dollars.


Roulette: A Winning Strategy cover

Roulette: A Winning Strategy

Martin Blakey

Dr. Martin Blakey is a humble mathematician who has quietly gone about his business in the casino for more than 40 years. He loves roulette and he loves chaos. In September, 2012, Blakey decided to unveil his secret formula for all the world to see. Dubbed the ‘MB Strategy,’ Blakey utilizes Chaos Theory, also known as Cluster Theory, which agues even though a system may be random and never repeat, patterns do form and can be harnessed and used as predictable.

The system seems to work for the good doctor. As outlined in the book, he’s had remarkable and consistent success.


Golden Touch book cover

Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution: How to Win at Craps Using a Controlled Dice Throw

Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is both a prolific writer and a prolific gambler, who the Washington Post has called “a widely published authority on casino games.” He’s written close to 50 books, including Casino Conquest, Break the One-Armed Bandits and The Baccarat Battle Book. He’s also penned several books on his favourite game – craps. Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution is perhaps his most well-known book on the subject but his library includes others like Forever Craps, I Am a Dice Controller, and Cutting Edge Craps.

Video Poker

Video Poker Book Cover

Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner

Bob Dancer

His real-life video poker successes are legendary and, in 2009, Bob Dancer released one of the best ever casino books on the topic. Video Poker for the Intelligent Beginner is a how-to-win blueprint for players seeking the fast track to the upper levels of this beatable game. Dancer guides the reader on finding and identifying the highest-returning games and how to generate, understand, and implement computer-perfect strategies for profit, the ultimate goal.

In September, 2000, Dancer and his wife teamed up on an epic six-month winning streak that saw the pair parlay a $6,000 bankroll into more than $1 million playing video poker, exploits that were later chronicled in his first book Million Dollar Video Poker.


Super System book cover

Super System

Doyle Brunson

Widely regarded as the Bible of poker books, Super System was written by the legendary Doyle Brunson, a 10-time bracelet winner at the World Series of Poker, with the help of a few of his Hall of Fame friends.  It was originally called How I made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker. At the time of its release in 1979, Brunson was coming off his second of back-to-back world championships. It was one of the first comprehensive books on strategies for poker’s different variants and many notable players contributed sections.

One of a kind book cover

One of a Kind: The Rise & Fall of Stuey ‘The Kid’ Ungar, the World’s Greatest Poker Player

Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson

This is the first and authorized biography of Stu Ungar. Ungar was a troubled genius at the poker table and the only player to win three world championships. It’s a rags to riches and then back to rags story. One of a Kind is the harrowing tale of one of poker’s most memorable figures. It covers his dark genius, and his ultimate demise. Ungar was a card savant with drug and gambling issues. He was a guy who won at the game but lost at life.

Not long after capturing his third world championship in 1997, and the $1 million prize that came with it, Ungar was found dead in a seedy motel room on the Las Vegas strip with less than $800 in his pocket. He was 45.

Positively Fifth Street book cover

Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs & Binion’s Word Series of Poker

James McManus

This memoir by Chicago author James McManus is set during the 2000 World Series of Poker. McManus was on assignment for Harper’s Magazine, covering the highly publicized trial of Rick Tabish and Sandy Murphy. They were accused of murdering Ted Binion, the son of Benny Binion. In case you didn’t know, Benny Binion is the legendary founder of the World Series of Poker.

The trial coincided with the 2000 WSOP. And, as luck would have it, McManus entered the main event and amazingly reached the final table, placing fifth.

Excelling at No-Limit Hold'em book cover

Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em

Jonathan Little

There are a myriad of excellent poker strategy books on the market. On such book is David Sklansky’s Theory of Poker (2005) and Dan Harrington’s Harrington on Hold’em (2005). But, one of the more recent, better ones is Jonathan Little’s Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em. Little is a poker superstar with more than $6 million in tournament earnings and multiple World Poker Tour titles. He brought together 17 of the greatest no-limit Hold’em experts, including the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker and Mike Sexton, to discuss strategy.




Derrick Oliver

Derrick Oliver

Derrick Oliver Dewan is the founder of High Roller Radio, and has interviewed a number of the world’s top poker players including Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Barbara Enright. A former, long-time radio and television broadcaster, Derrick has always had a passion for all things gambling (and darts too). He has even played at the World Series of Poker and other cash games all around the world.

To see more of Derrick is up to on a day-to-day basis, go follow him on Twitter @HighRollerRadio


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