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Bet the House: How I Gambled Over a Grand a Day for 30 Days on Sports, Poker, and Games of Chance Hardcover – Bargain Price

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569762473
  • ASIN: B005DIB78I
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,551,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roeper (Sox and the City) was inspired by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me to do his own 30-day challenge: every day for 30 days, I would risk at least $1,000 gambling. From craps and blackjack, to slots, off-track betting, poker tournaments, online poker, the lottery, and more, he gives a day-by-day account, with wins and losses, such as Day 8: Bankroll: + $4,980. Shuffling a full deck of anecdotes, movie references, and memoir moments, Roeper deals in such topics as gambling addiction, high rollers, casinos of choice, Indian gaming facilities, celebrity and charity poker tournaments, luck vs. strategy, and sports upsets. Amid dreams and desperation, he recalls, I have had insane fun and I have experienced freefalling, dangerous lows in various gleaming casinos on the Strip. As a film critic, Roeper is certainly aware that his entertaining book could easily be adapted into an equally entertaining high-stakes movie. (Apr. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Roeper, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 20 years, has been a gambler for even longer, cutting his teeth as a teen in basement poker games and sports betting with a neighborhood bookie. He defines the rules of his project upfront—see the subtitle—and then begins with a series of bets on the 2009 NCAA college basketball tournament. He bets on horse races and dog races; plays poker in Vegas, in pals’ basements and online; hits the casino blackjack tables; and bets on coin-flipping contests. He relates stories from his past gambling life, including the time an NFL official’s horrible call cost him thousands. He’s at his best when revealing the mentality of the gambler—e.g., watching sports events on two levels: the actual score and the score modified by the spread. Some of the jargon may befuddle nongamblers—especially poker babble—but Roeper does a pretty fair job supplying definitions and context. Readers who seldom gamble can vicariously experience a new world and meet some unforgettable characters; gamblers will nod their heads in recognition. It’s even money you’ll like the book. --Wes Lukowsky

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
For me, the book was a little boring.
Yi-Ching Hsieh
I personally think it read more as someone with a gambling problem just throwing money at anything that he can get a wager on.
Roeper's easy read style and outrageous story will lasso your interest.
James Alexander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, let me preface this by saying I know nothing about Richard Roeper. I've never seen any of his movie critiques or read any of his other books. I bought this book strictly for the gambling angle, as I love reading almost anything involving gambling. Overall, I enjoyed reading this and could easily picture myself in the same situations as Mr. Roeper. The portion on the dog track was particularly amusing.

That said, I had to keep asking myself what the point of it all was. He said something about an experiment, similar to "Super Size Me". However, in "Super Size Me", I think the experimenter was trying to prove some points with his experiemnt, the biggest one being that people needed to see what could happen to a person after 30 days of eating such awful food. In reading Mr. Roeper's stories, I got the sense that most of this experience was nothing new to him and that the "experiment" was just an excuse to gamble for 30 days and write about it so that he could make back his wagers. What was he really trying to prove here?

I also felt like Mr. Roeper ran out of gas toward the end of the 30 day period, as I felt shortchanged by the last few chapters in the book. There was really no "climax" to speak of, no major "wow, look what has happeend to me after all of this" moment, nothing like that. It was just a guy who said he would wager a certain amount per day.

I was also a little disappointed with his treatment of games he didn't care for throughout the book. For instance, take what he called "gimmick games". If the book is supposed to describe your experiences down a wide variety of these gambling paths, then talk about each of those paths and your experience with them. Don't cop out with "I tried it, I lost, and I'm done with it".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Ian on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know very little about gambling, except that I like to casually play Texas hold 'em or blackjack. So the first challenge to an author with a book like this is: can you make it interesting to what we call in my biz "non-category" readers? Is it appealing to the layperson, who doesn't know what "the vig" means or has no idea what the odds are on one casino game versus another, and doesn't care?

The answer: mission totally accomplished. Just as Scorcese's "Casino" served as an insider's look into Vegas then while following a human story narrative, this book makes you feels as though you've suddenly been dropped into the middle of the whole gambling world as a fly on the wall. You'll learn the language, what bookies actually do, what they DON'T do, what requires skill and what is really just a scam. Not surprisingly, lottery tickets are probably the biggest sucker's bet of all time--and ironically they're the most legal form of gambling, a theme which is touched on repeatedly throughout the book.

You'll get a sense of what it's like to have money riding on sports bets, horse racing, dog racing (which, as described, is eerily depressing, like a scene out of "No Country for Old Men."), the stock market, and, literally, simply flipping a coin one hundred times at a bar--among others.

Even with all the gambling setups and jargon, biographical details of Roeper's life manage to keep bubbling up at various points, including a horrific Vegas-set breakup story that may hit home to many.

Lest I paint this book too darkly, I read it in one sitting and I can't tell you how many LOL moments and characters appear--using VERY colorful language--which bring levity to the task at hand: risking at least $1,000/day on a bet of some sort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Denton on May 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Honestly it's been a while since I have sat down and read a book all the way through. I heard about this book on the Howard Stern show and since I gamble from time to time, I figured I could relate to it and maybe learn a thing or two. After reading it in just 5 hours, I am hooked on reading again. Richard does a great job of keeping the readers attention through anecdotes and fun facts about gambling all while crusading through his quest of gambling at least $1,000 a day. Anyone that enjoys to gamble, thinks they have a shot at the lotto, or just likes to be entertained should pick this one up. Great read front to back and I am now hooked on the Roeper mindset. Two thumbs up!
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Format: Hardcover
If you don't like to gamble, this is not a book for you. That being said, if you know what it's like to feel the rush of playing poker, the thrill of blackjack, or even the absurd joy in getting a bonus round in slots, this book will keep your turning the pages at a rapid pace. Movie critic Richard Roeper goes all Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) on the world of gambling. It's a 30 day experiment of sorts into the art of all types of ways to risk your hard earned dollars - not just casino games mind you - everything from scratch tickets to horse and dog racing are covered in the 260 pages. He is able to capture the "rush" feeling, and spend more money than most common recreational gamers would ever dare bet - but would love to given the financial liberty. It may not be the most eloquently written or perfectly structured depiction, but it gets the perfect rating from me for doing exactly what it promises to on the inside flap, and much more. From the list of the top ten gambling movies, to a mysterious dream scenario, to playing next to the likes of the major pros, gamblers of all types and bet sizes will enjoy this book.
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