Review of The Players: The Men Who Made Las Vegas



The Players is a compendium of several mini-biographies of people who have greatly influenced the landscape of gambling in Las Vegas. Several writers contributed sections to this work, including John L. Smith, well-known columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Jack Sheehan, the editor of the book.


While many of the figures chronicled in this book have been profiled elsewhere, some, like Howard Hughes or Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegal, very extensively, others are less well known outside of the casino community. A standout in this manner is the essay on billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, majority shareholder of the MGM Mirage corporation. Kerkorian has protected his privacy almost to the point of reclusivity, but agreed to an almost unprecedented hour-long interview for this book. Even though it would seem that he still didn’t elect to disclose very much about himself or his life, this is still probably the most complete profile I’ve seen of this man.


Other Las Vegas casino luminaries who are profiled in The Players include Jackie Gaughan and Sam Boyd, two moguls who have not received the widespread attention that other casino owners, such as Steve Wynn or Jay Sarno, have. Of course, Wynn and Sarno are also profiled, although necessarily not to the extent that they are in the books Running Scared by John L. Smith and Super Casino by Pete Earley, respectively.


While the authors of these essays do mention some of their subject’s faults, whether they might have a quick temper or a blind spot for certain business decisions, the overall profile of many of the subjects of The Players could fairly be described as glowing. Since the profiles of the better known personalities, such as Siegal and Hughes, seems to be fairly balanced, we probably ought to conclude that the praise lavished on other subjects, such as Jackie Gaughan, may very well be deserved. Of course, since these pieces were not always written by the same author, one can’t be certain that everything in this book was written with the same slant, but that these petty concerns don’t detract from the entertainment value of the book.


The essays are well written, well researched, and informative. While the descriptions of the book’s more well-known subjects don’t add a a great Slot Gacor deal of information to the repository of collective public information, the sketches in this book will begin to give the reader a clear enough picture to be able to understand what motivates the people they depict. In my opinion, the essays on the lesser known personalities are the most interesting ones, but any student of Las Vegas history will almost certainly find them all worth reading.



The Players is a collection of mini-biographies of several of the people who have most influenced the history of the casino business in Las Vegas. While several of the book’s most famous subjects, Howard Hughes for example, are chronicled more thoroughly in other books, The Players provides an interesting portrait of each of its subjects. While I enjoyed most the essays on some of the less popularly known characters, such as Sam Boyd and Kirk Kerkorian, they’re all worth reading by anyone who has an interest in the history of the casino business in Las Vegas.