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Gamble on these fab 5 books

Sep 23, 2008 6:57 PM

Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz | People attracted to gambling in Las Vegas are often drawn to those who "stood out" in history. Here’s a recommended list with a thumbnail description of each:

Ponzi’s Scheme by Michael Zuckoff ($14.95). This 2005 paperbound highlights Charles Ponzi’s clever cons which netted him millions of dollars a week in Boston. The "magnetic scoundrel" died in 1949 at age 66 in Brazil with $75 to his name.

I’ll Do My Own Damn Killin’ by Gary Sleeper is one of the great profiles of gambling pioneer Benny Binion. The $22 hardbound, published in 2006, has much of its focus on Binion, Herbert Noble and the (Dallas) Texas gambling wars.

The Big Bankroll (The Life and Times of Arnold Rothstein) by Leo Katcher Originally published in 1959 and re-published in 1994, this $18 paperbound begins in 1928, the year Arnold "The Fixer" was shot in a New York hotel then works its way backwards to the past.

Of Rats and Men by John L. Smith ($25.95) is a 2003 profile of the Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman. Illustrated and indexed, it’s colorful and fast-moving, from Goodman’s early days in Philadelphia to defending colorful personalities like Lefty Rosenthal and Tony Spilotro.

One of a Kind (The Rise and Fall of Stuey The Kid Ungar, the World’s Greatest Poker Player by Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson ($6). Yes, the price is right – Gambler’s Book Shop has obtained a rare cache of the Ungar biography, which was originally published in 2005, and it’s the bargain of the year.

You can use the store website at www.gamblersbook.com. Order with MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or at 1-800-522-1777 any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Orders are usually shipped the next working day.