Lucky 13 for Roll the Bones

Roll the Bones has made another list…’s list of the top 50 gambling books of all time. At #13, it’s near enough the top to be respectable:

In Roll the Bones, David Schwartz has compiled one of the most thorough historical accounts of gambling available. Schwartz manages to include gambling’s development in different areas of the world including Native America, China, Western Europe and the U.S. Events are set out in chronological order, which makes the book very easy to read, and all forms of gambling are covered. Towards the later stages of the book, the author moves to more modern issues and offers some enlightening discussions about gambling’s importance and place in society. Also of note is the thought-provoking musings about the future of gambling and how it might change. All in all, Roll the Bones is strongly recommended to anyone interested in the history of any form of gambling, or even anyone just looking for a good read.

via Top 50 Gambling Books of All Time –

It’s nice to get some recognition…the is the second list like this the book has made in the past few weeks, coming on the heels of Joe Mazur’s “Top Five Gambling Books” list at the Wall Street Journal.

So it’s not just me telling you that if you want to read a good book about gambling history, you should give Roll the Bones a try.

8 thoughts on “Lucky 13 for Roll the Bones”

  1. This is a well-deserved and great honor, Sir Dave.

    If you noticed…the top two books were fiction and written by two of the best writers of the 20th Century (HST & Ian Fleming).

    ‘Beat the Dealer’ probably deserves its place since it was (likely) the first guide of its kind, and historically important for that reason.

    Six of the other top 15 books are straight gambling-guides (one written by Standford Wong – I read that one). Three cover Blackjack, two cover gambling and one video poker.

    ‘The Dummies Book’ probably deserves it place due to its mass appeal, easy-readibility and generalization.

    ‘Eudaemonic Pie’ & ‘Bringing Down The House’ (thou true stories) read like fiction. (Both very good books). I haven’t read ‘Repeat Until Rich’ but it seems to be in the same fiction-like tale category as these other two.

    ‘The Battle for Las Vegas’ is about the only other non-fiction book in the top 15. It didn’t much for me when I read it, but likely warrants a spot by discussing an always ‘hot-topic’ like the Mob.

    Being in this Top 15 speaks volumes about what a terrific & remarkable job of research and writing you did. I spent several days just studying your citations & references…awed by huge amount of sources you wove into such a great story of gambling.

    IMVRO ‘Roll the Bones’ is the absolute best history book on gaming I’ve ever read. The reviewer was certainly right when he knowingly highlighted the fact that ‘Bones’ stays in perfect chronological order (a feat of writing that blew me away when I read it).

    My favorite Vegas books are ‘Viva Las Vegas’ (architecture), ‘Roll the Bones’ (gaming), ‘Fear & Loathing’ (fiction), ‘Learning from Las Vegas’ (urban planning & society?), ‘Suburban Xanadu’ (Vegas History), and some others (like ‘Positively Fifth Street’).

    ‘Suburban Xanadu’ will always remain informative, timely, fun and interesting.

    ‘Roll the Bones’ (IMO) is darn great! I read it twice. Once when it first came out and again around last Spring I think).

    When I checked it out from the library I kept it for three months (renewing it a total of about 4-5 times). Each page was filled with so much info that I had to take time to stop to and analyze at almost every five pages. It’s encyclopedic…plus it was a fun read for me.

    It’s even more timeless than Xanadu (if that’s possible). It surely is the Number One ‘History of Gaming Book’, as far as I’m concerned. Fascinating and a monumental piece of work.

    Yes Dave. That list was smart to place ‘Bones’ in the top 15. They knew what they were doing.

    Now please send Murren a copy of ‘Bones’ & ‘Xanadu’. They will make him a much more informed man.


  2. I just finished reading this phenomenal list of great books and authors. Wow. What good company.

    There is one book I felt was very good….but written in 1961 and with a small publication. It’s the story of Harold Smith and his Harold’s Club in Reno…called ‘I Want To Quit Winners’.

    I loved that book for its story of running a casino operation in the pre-corporate days.

    It probably wouldn’t deserve to be on this list…but maybe could be in a Top 100. Also…a good book by Major Riddle (about his days at the Dunes…though I forgot it’s name).


  3. I bought a book in 1973 that was called ‘Casino Holiday’. It was semi-illustrated and showed ways to count cards and use your placement of fingers to keep track of the count. If I was to re-read it I would likely laugh at its amateruish writing and bad theory. But I read book like it was a guide to riches. Don’t know if anyone’s every heard of it. I lost the darn thing in a flood.

  4. Once again, I’m wondering if my comments on this blog keep others from posting things. Probably highly likely. Time for me to stop writing here again so I don’t get in the way.

    This medium called the Internet is very difficult figure out.

  5. Wait a second here… Dostoyevsky at #48, right above the only book (solely) about problem gambling? No justice in this world. Shift the ‘how-to guides’ to the lower half, and move the books that actually have made an impact in this world to the top half. 100 yeas from now, people will still be reading Dostoyevsky, but likely not Gambling for Idiots.

    And why did they choose a problem gambling WORKBOOK as the token PG book? I’m surprised this British list wasn’t half horror stories about gambling addiction (albeit horror stories with the requisite amount of hope). Dostoyevsky’s “The Gambler” is, of course, about PG, but does not have the advantage of being able to incorporate modern biomedicine.

    Gotta go, the ice cream man is here.

  6. Congratulations, David. I bought Roll the Bones as soon as it hit the shelves, and it’s something I always return to for inspiration.

    One book that’s conspicuously absent from the list (perhaps because its title doesn’t directly position it as a gambling book) is Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. Though the history given there isn’t nearly as comprehensive as what you gave in Roll the Bones, the focus on the mathematics of chance makes for great reading, for this numbers guy at least.

    Just recently discovered that you had a blog; I subscribed and I’m looking forward to your posts.

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