Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “El jugador” as Want to Read:
El jugador
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

El jugador

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  62,083 ratings  ·  3,359 reviews
El autor y su personaje se acercan a la ruleta con la suficiencia del caballero que juega por placer, pero la atracción que ejerce sobre ellos la pasión del azar y la fortuna, los convierte en jugadores perdidos por la contingencia de la suerte. Dostoyevski equipara la vida de jugador con la del presidario encadenado a la rueda de la fatalidad, en paragón con la dependenci ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Edaf S.A. (first published March 10th 1866)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about El jugador, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Devyn Duffy Yes. Since it's short, you can get a sense of Dostoevsky's style without committing to a longer work.…moreYes. Since it's short, you can get a sense of Dostoevsky's style without committing to a longer work.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  62,083 ratings  ·  3,359 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of El jugador
Ahmad Sharabiani
Igrok (Игрок) = The Gambler = Le Joueur, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline to pay off gambling debts.

The first-person narrative is told from the point of view of Alexei Ivanovich, a tutor working for a Russ
Can I possibly not understand myself that I’m a lost man? But—why can’t I resurrect? (141)

It is not just the extraordinary psychological depth of the characters nor the engaging story that masterfully manages the element of surprise. This novella had a great impact on me for the simple reason that whenever I read certain passages, I saw him. His obsessions, his fears, his passion for a distant woman, his despair. Dostoyevsky was there, trying to survive.

Alexei Ivanovich is a 25 year-old tutor th
Vit Babenco
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The narrator is a little man but he is being torn apart by the great passions:
Something had seemed to strike my brain when she told me to go and play roulette. Strangely enough, that something had also seemed to make me hesitate, and to set me analysing my feelings with regard to her. In fact, during the two weeks of my absence I had felt far more at my ease than I did now, on the day of my return; although, while travelling, I had moped like an imbecile, rushed about like a man in a fever,
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of his greater works, but one that reveals his adept ability at multi-layered characterization.

The story behind the story is almost as interesting - he had to write this on a tight schedule because of his own gambling debts. Always an introspective narrator, with subtle empathy for an imperfect hero (Raskolnikov) Dostoyevsky here was able to describe the feelings, anxiety, and drives of a gambling addict.


4.0 stars. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a phenomenal writer and an icon of Russian literature. In this story, he has once again written a novel comprised of superb prose, unique characters and some very insightful comments about the human condition. For that, this novel deserves nothing less than 4 stars.

HOWEVER, as a native of Las Vegas who has just recently been given the opportunity to read this book after the lifting of the 100 year ban imposed by the State of Nevada on public dissemination of
Henry Avila
Gambling addiction, the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky knew too well about this affliction, he had to write this short novel very quickly, in order to pay for the debts acquired as a result... Our story begins in 1866, with passionate Alexei Ivanovich (The Gambler) , an unhappy tutor to retired Russian General Sagorjanski's two young children, the formerly rich soldier squandered it all, to much high living and reckless spending, no matter how wealthy a person is, when the money flows out faste ...more
Steven Godin

I hope to someday tackle Dostoyevsky's doorstopper novels like Brothers Karamazov & Demons but have generally stuck to his shorter work in the past - things like Notes from Underground & White Nights. The Gambler continues this trend. The fact it's called The Gambler, and is set in a town called Roulettenberg means it doesn't take a genius to figure out the game at the centre of the novel. A game I've never played because I have zero interest in gambling or casinos.
So, did this make the novel in
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can be seized in an instant by the forces of addiction and obsession. It happened to Dostoyevsky - he became addicted to gambling after one impulsive stop at a roulette table - and it took place while he already was in the grip of an obsession. The object of his obsession: the beautiful Apollinaria Suslova, one of his students and 20 years his junior.

This femme fatale appears in various forms in many of Dostoyevsky's novels. In The Gambler she is Polina Alexandrovna. He's in there too, as
Amalia Gkavea
“I wanted to fathom her secrets; I wanted her to come to me and say: "I love you," and if not that, if that was senseless insanity, then...well, what was there to care about? Did I know what I wanted? I was like one demented: all I wanted was to be near her, in the halo of her glory, in her radiance, always, for ever, all my life. I knew nothing more!”

‘’At that point, I ought to have gone away, but a strange sensation rose up in me, a sort of defiance of fate, a desire to challenge it, t
Dave Schaafsma
Not one of Dostoevsky’s greatest works, The Gambler was written fast, for cash, as he had gambling debts, so he knew what he was talking about in this one! It is not the most developed of his works (and I may be somewhat influenced by the stuffy translation, and hearing it read via audiotape), but there are moments in it that are still great. My greatest attraction to it is the autobiographical aspect, that Dostoevsky was drawn to gambling, and brought to the brink of ruin again and again by it. ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-lit
On the second reading I'm forced to change my entire opinion on this book. This was my introduction to Dostoevsky. I didn't know at first what to expect. Unfortunately, I read that this is not one of the best works by him. All must have influenced my perspective on the book. But after falling in love with Dostoevsky, I wanted to revisit the book to see if I had done justice to it. On this revisit, I realized that I have not done enough justice to the book.

It is an interesting story. It talks ab
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Russian literature, how I love thee!
MJ Nicholls
The William Tell Overture: An Alphabetical Anecdote. a) I used to live in student accommodation in the city of Edinburgh, sometimes dubbed “city of literature,” despite more people buying DVDs than books per annum. b) I spent my days in a box room writing mediocre essays about Austen and Dickens. c) In my spare time, I wrote appalling 900-page tracts about sexual frustration. I used self-deprecating humour to make life seem less terrible. d) This technique doesn’t have the same efficacy in my mi ...more
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is a crushing novel. It is one of those classic stories where the narrator is crushed by the weight of his desire, by the gravity of odds, and by the frailty of human hope. Within Dostoevsky's short novel there exists an almost existential subtext, an underlying risk of ruin; where the longer you live, the greater your chance of losing everything. Dostoevsky leaves the reader with small wins, decent runs, and hopeful conceits that tempt the reader to believe that one might walk away from li ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never been an addict to anything – at least anything harmful. But I might have been one if I were in the right place to be an addict of something. I might have been an addict of drugs; as I know myself I have never felt that I should care so much to be healthy - especially when I was younger. I’ve never been a drug addict simply because I never had drugs around myself. My surroundings, my circles of social friends were always drug-free.

I have also never been a gambler and at this time – be
Melania 🍒
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics

A good book, for sure, but something was missing. Maybe it was too short and I didn’t have the time to get familiar with the characters or be too invested in what’s happening.

This is my second Dostoyevsky read and certainly not the last. I hope my relation with Russian literature is going to be long😄
I am not a gambler, so why am I reading a book about people obsessed with gambling? To understand those people, how they think, to see if I can understand their obsession, at least to feel this obsession. Furthermore I was interested in this book because it is partially autobiographical. Dostoyevsky was obsessed by gambling and he too was obsessed by a woman - Apollinaria Suslova. The book is based on his own addiction to gambling while he was in love with Apollinaria Suslova. The central theme ...more
Michael Perkins
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a slice of Dostoevsky, a sampler compared with Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment. That may sound obvious, but one can't really know his full powers without reading those books.

The story is not as autobiographical as I thought it might be, but it does incorporate D's firsthand knowledge from his escapades in Europe that led to gambling addiction. His mechanism of choice was the roulette wheel.

His biographer, Joseph Frank writes....

"Whenever Dostoevsky came to Europe in 1860'
When Dostoyevsky loses all fortune at roulette, the idea comes to him to write a book on the hell of the game. The story takes place in Roulettenbourg in Germany. We follow a young man named Alexis Ivanovitch who works as "Uchitel" (tutor) for the children of a general. Psychology is strongly present in this novel. Alexis is in love with her employer's stepdaughter and decides to earn money to seduce her. Unfortunately, he falls little by little into the mad passion of the game. Paulina is at fi ...more
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible-plus, audio
This was an interesting study of a young Russian tutor with a gambling addiction. He also seemed addicted to manipulative women, including the elderly mother of his employer. For a time even she craved just one more bet. Simon Prebble did an excellent job narrating the audiobook.
Meredith Holley
Just after I read this book, I watched the movie Alex and Emma, in which Luke Wilson writes a book that plagiarizes this story. It made me very uncomfortable. As far as I know (and I watched pretty carefully) the movie did not cite Dostoyevsky at any point. It also made me feel weird about myself that I am a person who would read a novella by Dostoyevsky (because I just can't get enough) and then go watch a pretty lame romantic comedy with Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson because it sounded like a go ...more
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-free, 2011
This was a fun, short novel. Dostoevsky drops the reader into the middle of the story with no introduction to the characters; names are used and you have to figure out who the characters are and how they're related to each other as you read. For this reason it took me a few pages to "get into" the story because I was terribly confused about what was happening. However, once I had a handle on the characters and setting, it quickly became a humorous and enjoyable read. In fact, I enjoyed it so muc ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russos, mãe, clássicos, 2017
(review in English below)

Que desilusão!...

Depois de ter sido arrebatada por Crime e Castigo, esta leitura foi um autêntico balde de água fria. Logo no início, senti-me atirada para o meio duma situação que não compreendia, com personagens cujas relações entre si me pareciam estranhas.

Depois, quando as coisas começaram a encaixar, percebi que eram todos doidos, ou pelo menos bipolares. A história não me despertava qualquer interesse e só animou um pouco com a chegada da avó, com a sua própria dos
For all you readers who love to see characters fall into holes in which they try so desperately to climb out of, repeatedly, disastrously, I recommend Dostoyevsky's The Gambler.

It's an old story and one that seems to always resurface. After all, there are so many gamblers out there.

Gamblers of love, pride, cold hard cash -- it's all the same in the end. It's a fever that always seems to drive one into the basement of one's soul.

Dostoyevsky is a master storyteller. Even if the story is one we al
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially those who have gambled
Recommended to Junta by: Other Dostoyevsky books
The (Online Sports) Gambler

Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

January 22, 2016
Alexei Chabonovich joined the popular betting site, The Australian Open for tennis was being held, and he decided to try his luck at betting on sports, something he had taken an interest in recently after hearing some friends' stories about their betting successes and anecdotes. In registration, he referred a friend who was already a site membe
The Gambler is populated by a cast a very colorful characters. There is the narrator Alexei, who is tutor to the children of a Russian General who is traveling Western Europe, the General, who is massively in debt to a Frenchman and hopelessly smitten with a French woman, Polina, the General's step-daughter and whom Alexei has an unhealthy attraction to, the Frenchman de Griers whom the General is massively in debt to, and many others.

In a way this cast reminded me of Seinfeld. None of the peopl
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

Well, it's much better than Crime & Punishment, that's for sure. I'm still not blown away by Dostoyevsky's writing style, but the first impression is definitely improved. I'll probably read more of his works in the future, like The Idiot which is on my TBR list. Good thing is I don't dislike his books like I used to.

Alexei Ivanovich is an intelligent tutor who is working for a Russian family whose patriarch is known as The General. Through his attraction to Polina, a stepdaughter of T
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gambler is a brilliant compulsive book much like the content. And it's exploration into the psychology of a gambler and that of men in love is brilliant (to some extent women too - though it remains inexplicable)!

Alexei Ivanovich is a tutor to a Russian General's family and hopelessly in love with Polina Aleksandrovna, the niece. The hopelessness stems from the seemingly cruel Polina, her indecisiveness and attention showered on her by the benevolent Frenchman (not to mention an honourable
Settare (on hiatus)
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like to gamble and Dostoevsky fans, I guess?
Shelves: translated, russian
Let's put it this way: Dostoevsky and I aren't best friends.

I didn't thoroughly enjoy The Gambler, but it was captivating in some parts. The ending, although predictable, left me shivering. It's a very quotable book. But the moral of the story is too "in your face": I get it, Fyodor, gambling is bad, I get it, you don't have to go out of your way to insist upon it like that.
At the end, the book failed to leave me impressed (or I failed to be impressed, if you want to put it that way).

Again, to
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classics fans
Shelves: classics
The Gambler is my favourite Dostoyevsky so far. It has a solid story that leads to the outmost disaster of its main character. All in all, the book is a vivid representation of the fall of the character, of the gambling addiction and the society of the time. As it's quite small, it's easy to read, lighter than other Dostoyevshy books for sure and nicely written. So, I highly reccomend this one to anyone who wants to read Dostoyevsky but finds it hard to do so. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Death of Ivan Ilych
  • The Kreutzer Sonata
  • İnsan Ne İle Yaşar?
  • The Stranger
  • The Last Day of a Condemned Man
  • The Trial
  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther
  • Chess Story
  • Fathers and Sons
  • Altıncı Koğuş
  • The Fall
  • The Clown
  • The Captain's Daughter
  • The Overcoat
  • The Plague
  • Blindness (Blindness, #1)
  • The Blind Owl
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. His debut, the epistolary novella Poor Folk (1846), made his name. In 1849 he was arrested for involvement with the politically subversive 'Petrashevsky circle' and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison in Omsk, Siberia. From this experience came The House of the Dead (1860-2). In 1860 he began the journal Vremya (Time). Already married, ...more

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett...
131 likes · 49 comments
“People really do like seeing their best friends humiliated; a large part of the friendship is based on humiliation; and that is an old truth,well known to all intelligent people.” 115 likes
“I wanted to fathom her secrets; I wanted her to come to me and say: "I love you," and if not that, if that was senseless insanity, then...well, what was there to care about? Did I know what I wanted? I was like one demented: all I wanted was to be near her, in the halo of her glory, in her radiance, always, for ever, all my life. I knew nothing more!” 47 likes
More quotes…