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No house limit by Steve Fisher
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No house limit (1958)

by Steve Fisher

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943128,437 (3.72)4
$ (1) 10.00 (1) 2013 (1) adventure (1) Already read (1) Box 14 (1) CC (1) crime (10) crime and mystery (2) crime fiction (5) fiction (11) finished (1) gambling (1) gga (1) Hard Case (2) Hard Case Crime (25) hardboiled (2) hardcase (1) Las Vegas (1) Location: 5.2 (2) myst (1) mystery (9) noir (10) novel (3) paperback (1) policier (1) pulp (4) series (1) to-read (3) unread (2)

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I guess the first question many would ask is why bother read these old pulp fiction novels. Nostalgia, plot, setting, voyeurism, writing style, pictures of busty blonds on the cover; all of these I suppose. For lack of a better reason, I guess it would be the same reason why some people watch football. They provide easy, often thoughtless, entertainment.

That being said, Hard Case Crime, reissued a whole series of novels from the fifties and early sixties, most of which might be defined as noir, or representing the underbelly of American culture.

No House Limit portrays Joe Martin, owner of an independent, i.e., not controlled by the syndicate, casino in Las Vegas. The syndicate has vowed to shut him down and their approach is to hire a well-known gambler, Bello, to gamble him out of existence. An implausible scenario, certainly. What makes the reader want to continue is the atmosphere, the ambiance, the recreation of what we think a fifties casino might be like. Note I suggested it’s what we imagine it might be like. Whether it was or not, is really irrelevant to me. It’s a story and an intriguing one that allows the reader to lose himself in another world.

Written by Steve Fisher who, according to a postscript by his son wrote close to one hundred novels in the fifties. It has a very archaic flavor with stock characters straight out of the movies for which Fisher wrote many scripts.

Bello was patterned after the infamous Nick the Greek, a rather pathetic gambler who was introduced to Michael Fisher by his father. Nick once said he had won and lost close to $500 million in his lifetime and what really made him pathetic in Michael’s eyes were the boxes of letters Nick kept in his garage from people who might enclose $5 or $10 and ask Nick to gamble it for them in hopes he would strike it rich for them to help pay their medical bills or save their home.

I certainly learned a lot about craps. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Awesome and entertaining read!! Great background of Vegas or at least the way vegas used to be. Reads like the Bogart movie that never got made!! Fast paced and exciting!! ( )
  hredwards | Jan 4, 2010 |
Interesting because it's set/was originally written during the early days of Vegas, so the author takes pains to explain things that the modern reader takes for granted--like what chips are and what they look like. Not as good as the other HCC titles I've read, but still pretty damn entertaining. (I like to think of "HCC" as "Hard Case Candy," the way I go through these.) When we read these reprints, we have to remember that what may seem like tired tropes now weren't necessarily so at the time they were written. I still didn't think the "types" were too tedious. ( )
  hairball | Jul 18, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steve Fisherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Farrell, R.B.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, MichaelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.
Richard III, V. 4
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For Saul David
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It started at exactly eleven minutes past three A.M. on Sunday when Bello made his first appearance in the pit, picked up a pair of dice, and asked that the house limit on bets be taken off.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Syndicate calls in Bello, the most famous gambler in the world, to take down Joe Martin, owner of the biggest independent casino on the Las Vegas Strip, by beating him at a marathon game of craps.

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