The Casino, or gambling house, has been the protagonist of texts and novels by numerous Italian and foreign authors. It has been chosen as the place and theatre of compelling plots, giving birth over time to famous literary classics. Below, in chronological order, we will look at some of the novels that have transformed the Casino almost into a topos of modern and contemporary literature.
The Fu Mattia Pascal, Luigi Pirandello
The famous 1904 novel “Il fu Mattia Pascal” by Luigi Pirandello, does not have the Casino as its main theme. However, the game is a fundamental component of it, giving life to evocative settings.
The place of the Casino appears in the plot of this novel when the protagonist decides to participate in the game of roulette after having seen a poster in which is represented the Casino of Montecarlo. Therefore, the sixth chapter of Il Fu Mattia Pascal is dedicated to the evocative and meticulous description of this environment and the characters who usually frequent it.
Casino Royale, Ian Fleming
The Casino, with its glittering walls and its endless noises, has seen the birth of the fictitious character of James Bond. The origin of the secret agent dates back, in fact, to the novel “Casino Royale” by Ian Fleming in 1953, which will be successful only several years later.
In this novel, 007 plays the role of a spy against the banker LeChiffre, a frequent visitor to casinos: it is no coincidence that the “battlefield” is a baccarat table.
The biggest game in town, Al Alvarez
Approaching the reader to more recent times, the novel “The biggest game in town” by Al Alvarez (1983) tells the story of four players (Johnny Moss, Jack Straus, Doyle Brunson and Stu Ungar) who manage to win against the bank.
The focus, in this case, is on the game of Poker, and the type of reference is that of Texas Hold’em, the two-card Poker.
American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling: Winning Ways by Andrew Brisman, Andrew Brisman Giulio Sambon
At the turn of the century, we find one of the many guides to the world of Casino, entitled “American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling: Winning Ways by Andrew Brisman” and written by Andrew Brisman in 1999. What might be curious and successful, compared to other detailed reviews, is the author’s background: Brisman is a member of the United States Mensa, an association that groups all people with a very high IQ.
In 2015, on the other hand, in Giulio Sambon’s archaeological collection, several scholars recount the history and origin of ludic games through the literary genre of scientific essay.
Blackjack club: bringing down the house, Ben Mezrich
The novel “Blackjack club: bringing down the house” by Ben Mezrich, tells the true story of a group of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) students applying their skills to the card game of blackjack. The work of 2002 will see six years later a faithful film adaptation: “21”, the film directed by Robert Luketic. These are just some of the classics in literature in which the Casino is the protagonist.