• Whale Hunt in the Desert

  • Secrets of a Vegas Superhost
  • By: Deke Castleman
  • Narrated by: Ed Walters
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Whale Hunt in the Desert divulges the unbridled lengths to which casinos go to bag the world's biggest gamblers - the whales. This definitive exposé reveals the shrouded world of ultra-high rollers and the Faustian pacts they forge with their hosts, the casino representatives whose job it is to part them from their fortunes. Private jets, penthouses, personal chefs, show-up money, rebates on losses, and the most beautiful women on Earth - nothing is too excessive. 

This is the only book ever to examine the lifestyles and motivations of this rarest of breeds, as well as the highly guarded inner workings of the most money-oriented culture known to man. This third edition includes a foreword by Anthony Curtis and an extensive update about Las Vegas, the "greening" of gambling, the nightclub and dayclub scenes, the evolving host position, and much more - all in the words of the superhost, Steve Cyr.

©2014, 2018 Huntington Press (P)2018 TalkingBook

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What listeners say about Whale Hunt in the Desert

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Robot Narrator

The story is very interesting but the person reading the book is either an artificial intelligence robot or someone who seriously needs to develop a better reading style. An exciting story is made almost unbearable to listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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Should Have Read It To Myself

The story is fantastic. The narrator is really, really difficult to listen to. I've never been so excited to listen and so apprehensive at the same time. The narrator is robotic and truly sounds like a computer reading the story. It takes about 30 minutes to become numb to his cadence and identical inflection sentence after sentence. Would prefer Gilbert Gottfried to have read it.

The story is fascinating and definitely worth the READ. The only way I'd recommend this narrator was if you had a hostage situation and you were really pressed for time.

2 people found this helpful

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Great read/listen.

A great and fun listen to all gamblers and lovers of Degenerate stories. It is quite informative as well.

1 person found this helpful

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Wondered what it was like to be a high roller?

If you want to hear about Las Vegas's highest of high rollers, "whales," and what a casino will do to keep them happy, then this story won't fail to satisfy. Along the way you'll meet Steve Cyr, a young Turk casino host. A host is the casino's employee whose job it is to look after the big players and to keep them happy and, more importantly, keep them coming back and gambling more and more.

Much of the book is built around Cyr and his style (his style can be both inspiring and annoying). Cyr is about 70% time-share/condo salesperson and 35% cruise director and 10% Kato Kaelin (yeah, he's 115%). But the story is more than Cyr and his successful effort to modernize the way casinos market to high rollers. You'll meet some of the whales themselves. You'll find out about the mini-palaces casinos have built just for them. And one subject usually kept off the record is covered: do casinos provide sex to their top players?

The audiobook is not a superficial People Magazine of famous celebs who frequent Vegas. It's about both sides of the table, the whales and the casinos and hosts who harpoon them. The dark side of gambling is offered up as gamblers spin downward out of control, losing millions. There are plenty of details and that's what really distinguishes this. Other books have touched on the fantasy of the high roller's life. Such as Lifestyles of a High Roller, Anderson's Burning the Tables, Rubin's Comp City and a couple specials on the Travel Channel, but nothing has offered up the depth or detail of Whale Hunt.

The only thing missing from the audiobook is more.

1 person found this helpful

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Egomaniac writes boring story in third person

The story is boring, mostly about one guy, with way too much detail about his day-to-day miscellaneous work experience.
It feels VERY much like the main topic, Steve Cyr, wrote it about himself (in the third person). The author seems to think even the most mundane parts of that guy's career are horribly interesting. It is reminiscent of an egomaniac humble-bragging, so much so I suspect that is the case.

The background world of Vegas whales could be very interesting, but very little is about that.

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Performance is awful!

I can’t stand to even listen to this. Sounds like a robot is reading the book and I just can’t tolerate it. Too bad bc might have been a good listen!

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Great book, horrible narration

The book is great fun and you eventually overcome the robotic narration. But for the first 30 min you want to quit

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Really good

I love hearing about his stories and his brutal honesty, it was a great listen and would recommend.

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Vegas baby

If you like Gambling and all things vegas you will like this book. Great story of how Steve hustled his way to the top of being a Vegas casino hosts and all the stories to go with it.

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What did you figure out?

I always ask "What did you figure out?"..Well Steve Cyr figure out, what a Host is and should be. This book provides his insights on Hosting the Casino industry.

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Profile Image for MR D Shukla
  • MR D Shukla
  • 04-02-22

really interesting insight into Vegas

whilst I didn't finish this book in it's entirety, I really did learn a lot about what happens in Vegas as well as the crazy lives of gamblers as well as casino Hosts. definitely recommend this as being worth a read

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Profile Image for neill h.
  • neill h.
  • 09-16-19

Great stories, voice terrible

Book was great but the voice over was the worst thing about it by a mile!