Great Summer Reads About Playing Cards

Five great summer reads for card lovers.

Great Summer Reads About Playing Cards

Summer vacations are on the horizon, and even card players need something to read on the beach (or on the plane, or in the passenger seat). These are some of our favorite reads about cards, magic, and gambling. Have any favorites? Let us know in the comments!

The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards


Tom and Judy Dawson

This one’s a given for anyone interested in the history of card playing. It’s a collector’s dream, full of photos and stories of some of the earliest decks and printing companies. There are 2,700 black and white illustrations, and 324 color illustrations. Absolutely fascinating, especially if you have older decks you’re trying to identify.

Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind


Alex Stone

This tale recounts Alex Stone’s quest to become a master magician, following his investigation of magic from back-room illusions to the casinos of Las Vegas. Not only is it a tale of the magic community, but according to, Stone uses “psychology, neuroscience, physics, history, and even crime, all through the lens of trickery. . . [to] arrive at a host of startling revelations about how the mind works—and why, sometimes, it doesn’t.”

Casino Royale


Ian Fleming

If you’ve never read the Bond novel that inspired the film, now’s your chance. It’s the original James Bond novel, wherein 007 is sent to the French casinos in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission is to bankrupt a gambling-addicted Russian agent called Le Chiffre. Naturally, Bond has to defeat Le Chiffre at the gaming tables, so the story flows through elegant casinos with high-stakes games.

The Mental Game of Poker


Jared Tendler

Tendler is a mental coach—one who coaches poker players to help them play their best. It contains proven techniques to play the mental game, helping you guard against problems like tilt, handling variance, emotional control, and fear. If you’re looking to improve your poker game, improving your mental game first may be the greatest step you can take!

Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling


David G. Schwartz

Schwartz traces the history of gambling from the Stone Age to the modern era with absolutely riveting writing. He chronicles the earliest betting games and argues that gambling has been—and will continue to be—part of the human experience. From knucklebone gambling in prehistoric times, to the invention of casinos, to the invention of playing cards, to the Old West and 20th century gambling operations, this book covers it all.

@OfficialBicycleCards on Instagram