What I’ve Been Reading | February 2021

Tom Farrell’s list of sports betting books, and more. All of these novels inspired the sports-betting mystery-thriller WagerEasy.

The Book Gambit

I recently finished watching the popular series on Netflix called “The Queen’s Gambit, starring Anya Taylor-Joy. It’s a good story, well-acted and I highly recommend it. It’s based upon a novel by Walter Tevis. This surprised me because I had another Walter Tevis novel on my bookshelves that was made into a movie. It was The Hustler (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1959), about a sharp pool player who plays a below-average game of pool until the stakes are raised. 

Other books involving gambling or the racetrack that have been made into movies ended up on my bookshelf as well:

Seabiscuit, An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, 2001) 

Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich (Free Press, 2002)

sports betting books

Lay the Favorite, A Story About Gamblers by Beth Raymer (Random House, 2010)

The Cincinnati Kid by Richard Jessup (Buccaneer Books, 1963)

Also on my bookshelf are books that I categorize as handicapper “how to” books.

For me, the granddaddy of them all is Ainslie’s Complete Guide to Thoroughbred Racing by Tom Ainslie (Simon & Schuster, 1968).

I purchased the hardcover in 1975, and according to the Amazon folks, it’s now selling for $1,000.  

sports betting books

I have a collection of books on handicapping, but here are two more that I found helpful: 

sports betting books

Thoroughbred Handicapping State of the Art by William L. Quirin, (William Morrow & Company, 1984)

sports betting books

Picking Winners by Andrew Beyer (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984)

A recent book on sports betting is one I found helpful:


The Logic of Sports Betting by Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow (2019) 

Also of interest are books about the colorful history of the sports betting industry. On my bookshelf are two popular books.

sports betting books

The Smart Money, How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of Millions, A Memoir by Michael Konik (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

sports betting books

Bets, Drugs and Rock & Roll, The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Offshore Sports Gambling Empire, by Steve Budin with Bob Schaller, (Skyhorse Publishing, 2007)

No discussion of the racetrack and sports betting is complete without mentioning the old master of racetrack mysteries Dick Francis. I can keep going with other books piled up on my bookshelves, including crime fiction, biographies, historical fiction and literary fiction, but I have to stop somewhere. Alright, here are two more. I leave it up to you to make the connection to sports betting. 

sports betting books

Rothstein, The Life, Times and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed The 1919 World Series, by David Pietrusza (Carroll & Graf, 2003)

sports betting books

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925)

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