Cover image for The gambler's guide to the world : the inside scoop from a professional player on finding the action, beating the odds, and living it up around the globe
The gambler's guide to the world : the inside scoop from a professional player on finding the action, beating the odds, and living it up around the globe
May, Jesse.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Broadway Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 307 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1301 .M275 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Jesse May has the Inside Scoop On blackjack odds in Curaçao: "Good enough to lay down everything and travel halfway around the world." On the Super Bowl in Las Vegas:   "For those in the know it has always taken place in Las Vegas." On slots in Costa Rica:   "If you really have to, why don't you just hire someone to shine a flashlight in your eyes and take your wallet." And much more! Jesse May, an intrepid gambler, experienced poker pro, and critically acclaimed writer, has traveled across the country and around the world in search of the hottest gambling action. From sports betting in Costa Rica to high-stakes Vegas poker, from caviar and vodka in Moscow to funnel cakes and submarine sandwiches in Atlantic City, May has tried his hand and his luck at gambling and indulged in the good life across the globe. InThe Gambler's Guide to the World, he blends an insightful travel guide with a lively travel narrative to create a totally unique guidebook to the choicest sites in the world. The Gambler's Guide to the Worldalso includes: In-depth gambling advice for both novices and experienced players A glossary of gambling terms Helpful hints on tipping, fashion, etiquette, and more Entertaining anecdotes from the gambling life Loads of details on everything from Internet access to transportation Totally up-front reviews of hotels, restaurants, clubs, and casinos

Author Notes

Jesse May, the author of the novel Shut Up and Deal, lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, but can usually be found wherever the best game is.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Flexibility is a key ingredient in the makeup of a gambler. One card, one word, or one bet can change an entire night, and small decisions can affect an entire vacation... my general rule of thumb is adapt on the fly and don't ignore your first instincts," declares May in this hybrid casino guide and travel narrative. A passionate and intrepid gambler who writes for publications like Poker Digest and High Stakes, and is also the author of the novel Shut Up and Deal, May has trotted the globe from Amsterdam and Aruba to Helsinki and Vegas, gambling all the way. Each chapter opens with a "Lay of the Land," an overview of a city or country, followed by recommendations on flights, currency, hotels (phone numbers and e-mail addresses are provided), climate, restaurants, local Internet access, entertainment, nightlife, beaches and golf courses. His reviews of individual casinos cover games offered, variations in rules, dealer-tipping policies, decor and design, languages spoken, and food and drink, with stories of his own wins and losses shuffled in. In addition, May summarizes familiar and unfamiliar casino games (baccarat, craps, rommyÄa variation of blackjack played in Costa Rica) and offers sidebars on such offbeat attractions as Wurlitzer organ concerts, a metal horse-racing game and cockfighting. (Dec. 5) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Sometimes, the most profitable thing you could ever do is to lose a little bit. You'll never realize it at the time. At the time, all you want to do is to get even. You just want to get even and you don't care how long or how much money it takes you and you're just glued to your seat as the hours fly by, but later on, and trust me, later on, you'll realize that the most profitable thing you could ever do is to lose a little bit. Life ain't about always going forward, it's hills and valleys, and sometimes chasms. Addiction. I call it passion, loosely. Without passion, you're a dead fish. With passion, you have to deal with addiction. It's a paradox, because what you love kills you. We, the lovers of life, are the passionate addicts of all things, whether they be romance or sports, gambling or drugs, eating or drinking. What you love to do can kill you. Those are the demons of passion. Gambling is a more dangerous passion than most. It can wipe you out, tear your heart away, and make you grovel. It can get you high, lift you up, and bring you cash, the god of material pleasures. How does a person deal with this, with the danger, with the demons? You have to be strong. First, you must study your opponent. Know what battlefields you can attack him on, where his weaknesses are. Know your own weaknesses. Be aware of where your opponent will attack you, when he will come calling with his lights and bells and shiny promises. Playing the game is to be on the edge, but the better you know that edge, the more secure it becomes. And then sometimes there is no foothold at all. Sometimes there is no foothold at all, you can't rest no matter which way you turn and the rock is crumbling away at your feet and every step is a landslide, a landslide. Then you must get out. You must just get out. Because down there is a pit of no return. Addiction? It's tough out there. A common mistake of most gamblers is that they figure that just because the odds are slightly in their favor, there's no way they can lose. Brother, I've lost more money with the odds slightly in my favor than any reasonable person has the sense to admit. Don't worry, I've also lost plenty of money with the odds against me, but that's not the issue here. What I'm trying to say is that when the odds are in your favor or when the odds against you are greatly reduced, that's all it is. Nothing more than that, and as to what the outcome of any individual wager will be, only fate can say. Those odds only mean something when they get pounded over the course of a thousand or a million or ten million bets, and what I'm trying to say is that there is no substitute for bankroll, no substitute at all for having the cash to withstand the losses. And that's why most players get ground into the Nevada dust. And I just keep trying to tell myself the same thing, over and over. Cards have no memory, the cards have no memory. Yeah, my ass they got no memory. On my right is a deaf mute. Hell, I didn't know he was a deaf mute, I just thought he was crazy, he's over there waving his arms and speaking tongues at me every goddamn hand giving me the hand signals when he doesn't like my decisions, which is just about every hand. And he's jumping up and down out of his seat and waving his arms at me like a windmill, and I move all the way over to the other side of the table 'cause I figure he's off his goddamn rocker, and believe me, even for a deaf mute he's a little goddamn weird and he's drinking beers to boot and for a guy who can't talk he's making so much noise and doing so much waving and pointing that I got a goddamn earsplitting headache and meanwhile I'm trying to keep track of the count, the cards spitting out of the shoe by some hotshot dealer who's trying to show off by how fast he can deal, and I tell you I'm losing it. Meanwhile, over on my left is a voodoo Chinese fellow betting either $50 or $100 each hand who looks like he's ready to punch me because every time I take a hit with my $3 hand, I take the dealer's bust card. And even though it's a hit by the book and if you know the count, it ain't no hit according to the voodoo way they play Canal 21, and I've probably cost the guy about $800, which is most of his stake, and he's slamming the table and cursing me in Chinese and I'm just thinking, brother, I know exactly how you feel. Because I was on the other end of that just the night before when I'm playing the dealer head up and just when the count hits Jesus Christ mode and I plop down a $70 bet, some fifteen-year-old Panamanian kid comes over and buys in for eight singles and plops four of them down in the spot next to me and then he has to go ahead and hit twelve into the dealer showing a six and take my double down ten and instead, when I double down my ace-eight into the dealer's six I end up with seventeen, and the dealer goes ahead and makes nineteen and I lose 140 smackers all in one hand which is the last hand of the shoe with the running count at about plus thirty and all my money on the line and it's just because good Leroy has gotta hit twelve into a six and I'm just shaking my head and saying, the cards have no memory. Brother, if you don't think about even a little voodoo, then there isn't nothing but ice water in your veins, because the shit is just turning me white, and I thought when it came to gambling that I'd seen it all. There was twice in the Casino Central in Argentina when I'm playing third base (the last seat) with a thirteen or fourteen and the entire table sticks on between twelve and sixteen with the dealer showing a face card, and I hit. I get twenty once and twenty-one the other time, and the dealer gets twenty and nineteen, so I push once and win once, but both times the whole table lost and glared at me. And a Chinese lady with eighteen who would have beaten the dealer's seventeen if I hadn't taken a card, she let out a yelp like a wounded puppy when I said, "Carta." It doesn't matter where you sit. They'll curse you from the first seat, they'll curse you from third base, they'll pound the table when you're sandwiched in the middle and mutter in Spanish or jabber in Cantonese. It's tough to take a lot of cards and be popular. Hell, you're a moron if you don't think about it. The problem lies somewhere along the lines of if a tree falls does it make any sound. The simple idea is this. In Central and South American blackjack, the dealer waits to take his second card until the whole table has acted on their hand. In Las Vegas, the dealer takes two cards at the same time as everyone else, but in Argentina the dealer waits until the players have busted or stuck until he takes his second card from the shoe. And what this means is, this means that whatever the last card is taken by someone at the table as a hit, whatever that card is would be the dealer's second card if the player sticks. And the question is, does it matter? The answer, the simple answer, is no. The cards have no memory, and even though if you stick, then the dealer can take your bust card, even though it doesn't matter. And me, I just call it voodoo. If you really want to think about it, it can keep you up nights. I'm not sure the human mind is programmed to conceptually get a hold on it. The only people that don't play the voodoo game, the ones who hit all those cards because they understand it, they're all book players, got to believe in the book because they ain't got nothing else to grasp onto. Like Bible thumpers, they sound unreasonable, it makes no sense, but they'll die clinging to what that book says if it's the last thing they do. When I put it in that light, it makes me want to be a voodoo player. At least it seems to make sense because I can see it. I can see that if I had stuck then I wouldn't have taken the dealer's bust card and the whole table would have won. I can see that. Now I ask you, what makes more sense, what you can absolutely see would have happened, or the notion that it doesn't matter because the odds are completely random and it could have just as easily have been another card in there? But it wasn't. I'd like to be a voodoo player, but I can't. My self won't let me. Not after all those months of studying the books and practicing blackjack on the computer. I need Stanford Wong to be right, just like a guy who's gone through four years of private college needs to believe his education was just worth $100,000. Because if he's wrong, then he's a big fool. Better to drown with a sinking ship than get washed up on shore, naked and homeless. Anyway, I find plenty of places for voodoo. I save it for roulette and baccarat. Craps is something else all together. That's what I save my octane for. I still don't know if they thought I cut a dashing figure in my charcoal suit, or if they liked the fact that I played different than everybody else at the table and had the perversity to ask for a card with sixteen when the dealer showed an eight. But I do know one thing, if they weren't voodoo players before they saw me, then they sure went home voodoo, because I busted all of them, every last lady who backed me, and a good part of the rest of the table while I was at it. And lying here now in my $18 a night hotel room, with my back propped up against the wall giving me serious pain on account of my sunburn and the fan on high clicking its way through the night into the sultry morning, I'm just glad to have gotten out of there even. And I haven't sweated so much or felt so much gamble in me since I was playing $200 and $400 and was throwing the chips around like a machine on water. It takes balls to gamble in Argentina. The Luma Kid told me one thing. The Luma Kid told me a lot of things. But he said, he said one time, a good sleep after a big win? Ain't nobody who can sleep well after a big win. But when hammered, man, when you're broke, you sleep like a baby. Nothing can make you appreciate a big meal and a good sleep better than being flat busted on your ass. He's right, of course. Excerpted from The Gambler's Guide to the World: The Insider Scoop from a Professional Player on Finding the Action, Beating the Odds and Living It up Around the Globe by Jesse May All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.