Call for Chapters: The Casino Games and Classic Card Games Reader

deadline for submissions: 
April 17, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Bloomsbury Academic

We are soliciting chapter proposals for a volume tentatively entitled The Casino Games and Classic Card Games Reader: Communities, Cultures, and Play. This volume would be the first in a new series under consideration at Bloomsbury Academic entitled Play Beyond the Computer.

Series Description

Play Beyond the Computer is proposed as a new series of edited collections examining traditional card games, casino games, puzzles and riddles, board games, live-action roleplay, urban games, and so forth – all games that are not dependent on a computer for their play. The series is designed to move game studies in a particular direction beyond “self-contained” studies of games and play, and towards an engagement with the political, social, cultural and economic contexts of gameplay practices, with a particular focus on how communities and cultures arise around specific game-playing forms. Each book will have essays not just from academics and scholars, but also from leading practitioners in the relevant field (professional poker players, Rubik’s Cube champions, designers of IQ tests, casino game manufacturers, trading card game designers, circus managers, urban game organizers, and so forth). These will give unique first-hand insights into these domains of play, offering autoethnographic perspectives on game practices and communities that will complement the academic analyses in each book.

Series Editor: Mark R. Johnson (University of York)

Editorial Board: Espen Aarseth (IT University of Copenhagen), Staffan Björk (University of Gothenburg), Gordon Calleja (University of Malta), Mia Consalvo (Concordia University), Miguel Sicart (IT University of Copenhagen), Bart Simon (Concordia University).

Book Description

The initial proposed book in the above series, The Casino Games and Classic Card Games Reader marks the first ever game studies examination of traditional card games (poker, bridge, whist, rummy, blackjack, etc) and casino games (roulette, craps, baccarat, etc), focusing particularly on the questions of context, community, and culture. Such games have been overlooked by game scholars due to the negative ethical weight of “gambling” – when such games are pathologized and labelled as deviance or mental illness, few look beyond to unpick the games, their players, and their communities. This volume instead seeks to study those playing these games, the distinctive cultures and practices that have emerged around them, their activities and beliefs and interpersonal relationships, and how these games influence – both positively and negatively – the everyday lives and professional careers of millions of game players around the world.

Potential chapters might cover:

  • studying the flow of money from amateur to professional card players and how this shapes the play experiences of either, or both
  • examining the histories and evolutions of superstitions that surround casino games and how they structure the behaviors of players
  • card-playing leagues and the micro-social worlds they create
  • the particular racial and national makeups of particular card-playing communities
  • unpicking the discourses and interpretations of the balance between skill and luck in casino and/or card games, whether legally, politically, or within player communities
  • how legal disputes over casino games have shaped how, where and when players can play them, and thereby the gambling practices of those players
  • how gambling has been driving tourism, leisure and urban development in particular geographical contexts, and the demographics and motivations of those who travel in order to play
  • studying card games and their players in situ at card rooms and card clubs
  • explorations of television poker broadcasting, news reporting of casino games, or other comparable entanglements of these games and their public face
  • the development of strategies and tactics by card game players and how these tactics spread through social networks

The above is far from exhaustive, however. The volume offers the potential for a wide range of inquiries into these areas, and we are happy to consider contributions from scholars working in a range of disciplinary traditions.


The series and this volume will be under consideration at Bloomsbury Academic, which has asked that the formal proposal include abstracts for each chapter. If you are interested in contributing a chapter of approximately 5,000-7,000 words, please email the volume editor Mark R. Johnson at with an informative abstract of at least 250 words, along with a brief biography of 50-75 words indicating your current affiliation and research interests. Abstracts should be not only a brief description, but also indicate research methodologies, case studies, or theoretical positions along with conclusions drawn.

This call will close on Monday, 17 April 2017. Responses to submissions will go out by Friday, 5 May 2017. The deadline for draft chapters will be set for approximately six months after the project is contracted.