Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked It All to Buy One of Las Vegas' Legendary Casinos

Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked It All to Buy One of Las Vegas' Legendary Casinos

Written by Tom Breitling and Cal Fussman

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor


Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked It All to Buy One of Las Vegas' Legendary Casinos

Written by Tom Breitling and Cal Fussman

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor

ratings:
3.5/5 (18 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 15, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176113
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

If Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn had come of age at the end of the twentieth century looking for an all-American adventure, they probably would've headed for Vegas. However, they'd have been hard-pressed to go on a wilder ride than the one taken by Tom Breitling and Tim Poster to the top of the famed Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.



Call them the Odds Couple.



Breitling is the kid who lives next door if you grow up in Burnsville, Minnesota. He never saw a hundred dollar bill or The Godfather until he went to college. Poster comes from a family of oddsmakers who reach for the Doritos on football Sundays and scream for the point spread. He was whistling Sinatra and booking games at his Las Vegas high school.



Their unlikely friendship began in college over an eight-dollar veal parmigiana sandwich that led to a partnership in a hotel reservation business. Starting with a desk, a chair, a pillow, and a telephone, Tim and Tom grew a company that they sold during the dot.com boom for $105 million. This allows Tim to pursue his childhood dream of owning a casino and bringing back the glory days of Vegas.



When Tim ups the odds and raises the limits to give gamblers the best game in town, a craps player nicknamed "Mr. Royalty," who's on one of the hottest winning streaks in history, heads for the Nugget. When he begins to take Tom and Tim for millions, the partnership is put to the test. But Tim refuses to back off on the odds or the high limits, telling his partner, "It's a ballsy proposition here. It's gonna be a roller coaster ride. But we don't have a public company to answer to. It's just you and me."



When Mr. Royalty rolls twenty-two consecutive passes and rakes in a mountain of chips, he takes Tim and Tom to the brink. They must figure out a way to hold up the House.



Just as they do, the roller coaster ride really gets rolling-and the ride becomes crazier than they'd ever imagined.
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 15, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176113
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Tom Breitling is the president of Breitling Ventures, a private investment company. A graduate of the University of San Diego and a mentor at the Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy, he lives with his wife in Las Vegas.


Related to Double or Nothing

Related Audiobooks


Reviews

What people think about Double or Nothing

3.3
18 ratings / 17 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Liked this book more than I expected to. Started it shortly after a trp to Vegas but didn't get into it. Then read it on Nook and couldn't read it quickly enough. Liked the inside look on casinos and enjoyed their back story. Curious to know where they are now.I've never seen Casino or heard of the author unlike some reviewers
  • (3/5)
    This was a fun, easy-to-read story about two buddies and their commitment to each other and the dream to make it big in Vegas. In a very engaging way, the book communicates how, for these two friends, hard work, perseverance and risk-taking paid off.
  • (4/5)
    This is easy read, but a fascinating read. Two guys with lots of moxy and some dreams end up huge successes. Even if you are not interested in gambling the first part about they created a web based hotel booking company and sold it to Expedia will snag you right up. This book may inspire you.
  • (3/5)
    I was not really looking forward to reading this when I got it for the Early Reviewer program. Never been to a casino, and had never heard of the author. When I finally got around to reading, I was sucked in. It ended up being a fast paced, easy read. While it was by no means great, it was worth the couple hours that it took up.
  • (4/5)
    The glitz of Vegas convergences with the adrenalin rush of entrepreneurism in a book that spins a remarkable story. Those of us who have stayed at Golden Nugget over the years will no doubt have a special fascination with Breitling's tale. But any reader with even a mild interest in casino 'biz or who enjoys hearing about young entreprenurs risking it all on a dream will find Double or Nothing both entertaining and enlightening. Toss in some insights about the dot.com boom (and bust), along with a handful of celebrity names, and you have a fast-paced book that is well worth the read.
  • (3/5)
    A quick and interesting read about the wild ride of two guys who had the rare luck to emerge winners from the dot-com boom.This isn't for everyone--if reading about multimillion-dollar negotiations or the hectic life of business owners isn't your cup of tea, you'll probably find this dragging on at parts. The central part of the book, though, is the relationship between Breitling, the narrator/co-author, and Poster, his mad genius-esque best friend and business partner. Watching how the two become friends and stay friends while running one of the most historic casinos in Las Vegas is definitely worth the price of admission.A great choice, particularly, for anyone interested in memoirs, business or gambling.
  • (4/5)
    Imagine building an Internet business during the dotcom boom/bust and selling it to Microsoft for millions. Now imagine buying the famous Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas and selling it in less than a year and half for hundreds of millions. Now imagine you are barely in your 30s and you are doing all this with your very best friend. This is the story of one of Las Vegas' most dynamic duos, two young guys from different backgrounds coming together to own the world.The Book tells the story in autobiographical form of Tom, a simple hard working boy from Minnesota, and his friendship with Tim, a local Vegas boy who has gambling in his blood. The two formed a bond that has lasted throughout the last 20 years and will be around till one of them passes on to the big casino in the sky. The pages of the book offer the reader an insight to a world that most of us will never be in: a world of fast cars, movie stars, corporate jets and millions of dollars wrapped in cellophane being bet on one roll of the dice.I enjoyed this book and I would have loved to have been a part of the world written in this book. The authors tell this story at about an 8th grade reading level which allows the book to be finished in a few hours. The book is not just about Vegas, it is about a time in financial history that was exciting and may never be duplicated, I hope you enjoy this book.
  • (3/5)
    Double or Nothing was a quick read, an interesting story, more like a conversation than a book. Maybe it was the writing style, or maybe I'm just jealous of the author's successes, but I did not enjoy the conversational, self-congratulatory tone of the writing, the occasional incomplete sentence or the choppy descriptions or dialog sequences. This book would have made a great magazine interview or an interesting 60 Minutes segment, but as a book, it leaves this reader wanting much more.
  • (4/5)
    Fans of non-fiction should definitely take a chance on this well-composed and fast-paced memoir about friendship and fortunes. Set in Las Vegas, the story focuses on the business partnership of Tim Poster and Tom Breitling (the author) as they make $100 million not once, but twice. While the first third of the novel, focusing on their first venture as a hotel reservation service riding the dot-com boom of the late 90s, is necessary to establishing their relationship and characters, the memoir really comes alive with their purchase of The Golden Nugget Casino. From meeting Tony Bennett to starring in a reality TV show, the meat of the memoir is a very well-organized collection of anecdotes about the running of a casino. Though a bit skimpy on exact details and a bit excessive with the "gas pedal vs. brake pedal" metaphor used to describe Tim and Tom's business relationship, this book is a quick and fun read that will make you long for a Vegas vacation. Overall score: 4/5.
  • (1/5)
    The books starts off well but quickly becomes boring. The same stories (anecdotes, really) get retold several times over while the author seems to only be able to make one point: they took a lot of risk. Well, it's Vegas. Duh. In the end, it feels like watching Ocean's Eleven, without Brad Pitt & George Clooney.
  • (1/5)
    The cover blurb for Double or Nothing uses the word “brash” twice, and the professional writer involved, Cal Fussman, goes to some lengths to present the story as if it were a breezy conversation with brash Tom Breitling, one of the principles. I’d give it a “brash, breezy, and boring.” It’s a very detailed accounting of how two buddies created a business of some value on the internet, through a combination of a good idea and some lucky timing, and fell into a pot of money by selling out at the peak of the dot-com bubble. Then they turned around, bought a casino, and doubled their money again by selling out. That’s the whole plot, and it would make perhaps a two-paragrapher in “Forbes,” so the book comes down to more than two hundred pages of getting to know Tom and his buddy, Tim. I didn’t find them all that engrossing. They come across as self-absorbed and self-important, but with a ways to go yet before getting as interesting as, say, The Donald.Perhaps to inject some drama in the book, every glitch along the way to a “deal” is presented in breathless, cliff-hanging style. The problem is there is never enough sympathy for the guys to care whether their deal goes through or not. Although it looks like a normal offering from publisher Collins, I’d characterize it as a vanity press job, probably motivated by the same instincts that caused Tom and Tim to allow Fox TV to follow them around for a “reality” show.
  • (3/5)
    This book is high on style but a bit short on substance. The writing style can be a bit awkward at times, but there aren't any slowdowns as the author takes you through the stories of his two business adventures. As others have said, an entertaining read, but not a book that I would go out of my way to recommend to others.
  • (2/5)
    This should perhaps be called "Two Time Winners: How Two Unlikely Partners Made $100M from Bookings to Blackjack". It's really an entrepreneur's memoir of his two businesses. The Las Vegas anecdotes and details of the casino business comprised less than 50% of the book. So the big dice on the front page and gambling references make it a big of a bait and switch job. If you're expecting to read about inner workings of a casino, anecdotes, personalities, gamblers and cheaters, yes, they are all in here. However, you'll have to wade through 200+ pages to get them. More of the book is about the partner's first business, a travel booking .com business they sold to Microsoft. And it's about how to manage a partnership. And work amazingly hard, and be lucky. And use the people around you for advice, investment, and style. And how to negotiate selling a business. And the dot com phenomenon and bubble of the late '90s and early 2000's. Although I like reading business books, I enjoy the glamour, crime, stakes and thrills of the casino stories more: and I suspect there is a bigger audience out there for films like Casino and Ocean's Eleven than for business memoirs. The writing is not bad, and the read is indeed fast. The book will leave you by turns bored and wanting more, unless you are a technology entrepreneur flying to Las Vegas for a weekend of gambling.
  • (3/5)
    My biggest complaint about this book was the author's constant reference to his home town of Burnsville, Minnesota as "Barnsville." Being a lifelong resident of Minnesota and a current resident of the Twin Cities, I didn't appreciate the author's implication that he grew up in a somewhat rural, backward environment. Granted, the Twin Cities metro area is no Las Vegas but, since he attributes much of his success to his parents and upbringing, I'd thank him kindly to give *some* credit to his hometown. Other than that trifling complaint, I found this memoir to be a light read which I was able to start and quickly finish on a four hour flight to Cancun. (Hey, I love Minnesota but the winter really does get old!) I was expecting more of a behind the scenes glimpse into the world of running a casino and the trials that go with it but the story focused more on the author's friendship and history with Tim Poster, the impetus behind the author's continued financial success. If you're looking for a light, good humored "rags to riches" story, give this book a try.
  • (4/5)
    Tom Breitling and Tim Poster met while in college. Their friendship lead to a business partnership which grew a small Las Vegas hotel registrations business into an online travel service -- Travelscape, eventually sold to Expedia for $105 million at the height of the dot com boom. Tom took his earnings and set off to prove that his success wasn't a one-time lucky fluke while Tim looked for the next big deal. When Tim decided the next big deal would be to buy The Golden Nugget, restore its glory, and bring back the feel of old Vegas (the Vegas of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, in the days before the city went corporate), the friends set off on a new adventure. With no corporate backing, the two friends put up their own money on a gamble which could (and nearly did) lose them everything. Running the gauntlet of 18-hour work days, a reality TV show which painted a less-than-stellar picture of the Nugget, girlfriend trouble, and the high roller who nearly took it all away, the friends remain steadfast, and then an unexpected offer to sell the casino at a huge profit comes their way.I have to admit up front that I found this book a thoroughly enjoyable read. The story moved along at a nice pace that kept the reader engrossed and turning pages. That said, I found myself wanting so much more from this book.The characters -- including, or perhaps especially, the narrator himself -- are shallowly drawn at best -- as are their relationships which, in the hands of another storyteller and/or co-author, could have formed the central draw and tale behind this story. Shallow, too, is the hoped-for glimpse of Vegas behind the curtains. Scattered throughout the book are small nuggets of stories suggesting the much richer gold that could have been mined. What a wonderful book that would have been.So, if you are looking for a fast-paced readable story of how two friends made a bundle, risked it all, and came out on top again, certainly pick up Double or Nothing. If you are looking for the story of a friendship and how it survived the ups and downs of the business world or perhaps a behind-the-scenes peek at the running of a Vegas casino, keep moving, there's really nothing here for you.
  • (5/5)
    I'm a sucker for a good "rags to riches" story, and this is one of the better ones I've read. Tim Poster and Tom Breitling start a room reservation service in Vegas that becomes TravelScape, which is then sold to Expedia for $105 million. They then buy the Golden Nugget, turn it into the showplace of downtown Vegas, and sell it for $113 million profit the next year.The book feels very much like having a friendly conversation with Breitling over a drink. He tells about the joys and trials of trying to remake a casino under the all-seeing eye of "reality TV" and finds out just how "real" it is. He explains how - and WHY - his partnership with Tim works. All in all, it's a great read about a great friendship.
  • (4/5)
    Tom Breitling and Tim Poster made a killing at the beginning of the internet era with a hotel reservations company called Travelscape. After selling their company, they decided to live out their dreams by owning their own casino in Las Vegas, buying the legendary Golden Nugget. Double or Nothing is Breitling's account of how he and Poster made their fortunes and ended up at the Golden Nugget. Breitling has a great knack for telling stories, particularly about his and Poster's relationship. Reading stories about Poster's childhood in Vegas and Breitling's career there was really quite entertaining, and Breitling did a great job making me care about everyone in the book. The ending started to lag a little bit after Breitling reached the point when they bought the casino; reading about their time there and the sale of the casino just wasn't as interesting as the rest of the book. Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone who likes reading quick memoirs or someone who likes Las Vegas, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking for a business book.