For centuries, people have been gambling for money, and yet, in modern society, it’s a topic non grata. Whether it’s casinos in Las Vegas, the local bookmaker shop and even the state lottery; gambling is right in front of people’s faces, but they don’t like to speak about it. We all rather gamble in private.
Despite the hide and seek, there are a few gambling stories that made it into the news and will change the way you think about casinos and betting forever. Let’s have a look at the must-read books:
The Sure Thing: The Great Coup in Horse Racing History
The sure thing tells the true story of Barney Curley, a renowned gambler and mastermind who made millions from bookmakers with a racehorse called Yellow Sam. The book tells the story of how he managed to win millions of pounds twice, in 1975 and thirty years later, in 2010.
Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics
Winning Against the Odds is about one of England’s most fascinating men. It tells the story of Stuart Wheeler, an alumnus of Eton College and Oxford University, a barrister and an investment banker, who was declared banned from more than one Las Vegas casino and is commonly known as the inventor of spread betting.
Spread betting is the wagering money on an event where the pay-off is based on the accuracy of the wager rather than win or lose, as you might know from fixed-odd bets. Spread betting allowed bookmakers to offer a greater variety of bets such as the number of goals scored during a football match, the number of aces in a tennis match, or a wager on which horse will finish second, not first, during a race.
In today’s world, spread betting is an integral part of any offline and online sportsbook and their sister sites, with a growing number of spreads accepted each year.
Tony 10: The astonishing story of the postman who gambled €10,000,000 … and lost it all
Not every gambling story is as remarkable as those of Stuart Wheeler and Barney Curley.
Tony 10 tells the true story of Tony O’Reilly, an Irish postman who stole €1.75 million from a post office in Gorey, Wexford, to fund his pathological gambling habit. Tony 10 refers to the username of his betting account with Paddy Power, which he used to wager nearly 10.5m over the course of eight years at the Irish gambling firm. During this time, O’Reilly earned winnings of roughly €9m. It all started with a low €1 bet on Holland to beat Argentina 2-1 during the 1998 World Cup but quickly spun out of control with high-volume spread bets.
The book gives a chilling inside into a life controlled by a gambling addiction that leads to the loss of his job, family, home, and ends up with a long-term prison sentence.
If you happen to have read all three books already, there are many more brilliant non-fiction books on this topic such as Enemy Number One by Patrick Veitch, Gambling For Life by Harry Findlay, and Monsieur X by Jamie Reid, a bestseller shortlisted for the Telegraph Sports Biography of the Year Award 2019.