Further reading for fans of Molly's Game
Molly's Game is a memoir written by a woman who went from being a cocktail waitress to running an exclusive, but illegal, high-stakes underground poker enterprise and coming into conflict with entitled celebrities, mob bosses, and the FBI. It's one of those off-kilter American dream stories where an outsider takes initiative and enjoys success in a big glitzy celebrity-gossip-filled way and the criminal aspect just makes them that much more appealing. We do romanticize our outlaw figures.
Nonfiction book lists, even for highly narrative nonfiction like memoirs, tend to be closer to readarounds than readalikes, and this list is no different. It identifies some of the most prominent elements of the book: poker, gambling, crime, secrecy, fringe people, etc., and provides thematic matches for readers interested in exploring these topics from different angles or perspectives.
This is my hand, you tell me if I won.
And don't miss our Molly's Game giveaway! Ahead of the movie adaptation release on Christmas Day, we're giving away two tickets to see Molly's Game on the big screen, and a copy of the memoir that started it all! Click through to enter to win!
In the "fantasies: glamor" section of my mind, filed next to "hosting exclusive star-studded card-parties and making tons of money doing so," you'll find "developing a superpower where winning millions in Vegas is just another day at the office." Card-counting may not be an actual superpower, but it's a valuable skill to unleash in a casino, and reading about some kids who beat Vegas at its own game is underdog gold.
1 / 11
There aren't a ton of prominent women on the professional poker scene, so when one becomes the first person of any gender to win the European Poker Tour twice, it's a pretty big deal. Coren wrote this book before her second, record-setting win, but she was already an impressive figure and this funny, wry, very smart memoir of her life in and out of the game will charm you even if you aren't particularly poker-savvy.
2 / 11
Pulitzer prize-winning novelist and mediocre poker player Colson Whitehead is given $10,000 and an assignment by Grantland magazine: enter the World Series of Poker and see how far you can get. This is his story. Dunh dunh.
3 / 11
Molly ran into problems when she moved her operation from L.A. to N.Y., where illegal gambling interests fell within the purview of organized crime. Although the Sinatra Club was established well before Molly's time, this book gives some insights into the rise of illegal gambling dens, where the five families of the New York Mafia could meet to play cards and talk business without any meddling ladies taking a cut.
4 / 11
Like Whitehead, McManus attended the World Series of Poker as a journalist. Harper's hired him to report on female players and to cover a murder trial that was unfolding at the same time; the defendants accused of killing Ted Binion, the tournament's host. Instead McManus decided to enter the tournament himself, getting surprisingly far, and he wrote this book, which ended up not being very much about women in poker.
5 / 11
Heidi Fleiss is another woman who made her name and fortune less-than-legally, who also catered to an elite, wealthy, and primarily male clientele for whom discretion was a priority. Like Molly, she was arrested and asked to name names. Instead of publishing her juicy black book, she wrote this one.
6 / 11
A good poker player embarks upon a three-month journey from Connecticut to L.A. in order to hustle terrible poker players all across the country out of enough money to bankroll his entry into a tournament for excellent poker players.
7 / 11
If you enjoyed the speakeasy-like aspect of Molly's games but you crave more action and adrenaline in your reading, longing for a book with that clandestine inner circle vibe and competitive spirit but with much more punching, you're in luck! This book has all of the shifting-location, secret-knock exclusivity as Molly's does, but it also features full-contact, no holds barred MMA.
8 / 11
In the same category of "narrative nonfiction that is surprisingly gripping despite being about a card game," this is the story of a regular billionaire fella named Andy Beal who challenged some of poker's biggest names to a series of games culminating in a final round whose jackpot had swollen to $20 million. File under 'wealthy badass fantasy #42."
9 / 11
Proof that the relationship between Vegas and crime goes all the way back, this bio of Benny Binion; Texas gangster, World Series of Poker founder, father of the murdered host from McManus' book, is a fascinating look at how the combination of business acumen and moral flexibility can lead to both great success and also a trail of bodies and corruption in one's wake. What happens in one's wake stays in one's wake...
10 / 11
Molly's Game [Movie Tie-in]: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World
If you've read Molly's Game, I hope these suggestions have piqued your interest. If you haven't read it, now's the time!
11 / 11