Casino
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4.02 / 5

"Casino" Characters Analysis

By Nicholas Pileggi

true crime | 348 pages | Published in NaN

From the author of the best-selling Mafia exposé, Wiseguy, comes this inside story of the billion-dollar gambling industry and the secretive, dangerous men who run it. At the heart of this true tale of love, revenge, and murder Mafia-style are some of the most memorable characters in mob lore: Lefty, the brains of the mob's Vegas casinos; Tony Spilotro, the mob's muscle; and Geri, Lefty's adulterous show-girl wife.

ISBN_13:9780671665708

Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

CharacterRole
Sam "Ace" RothsteinProtagonist, Casino Manager
Ginger McKennaLove Interest, Former Prostitute
Nicky SantoroAntagonist, Mob Enforcer
Lester DiamondSupporting Character, Ginger's Ex-Husband
Phillip GreenSupporting Character, Mob Associate

Role Identification

In Nicholas Pileggi's "Casino," the characters play a crucial role in driving the narrative forward. Each character has a distinct role that contributes to the overall story. The main characters include Sam "Ace" Rothstein, Ginger McKenna, Nicky Santoro, Lester Diamond, and Phillip Green.

Character Descriptions

Sam "Ace" Rothstein

Sam "Ace" Rothstein serves as the protagonist and the casino manager. He is a highly skilled gambler and bookmaker who is chosen by the Chicago Outfit to run the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Ace is an intelligent and meticulous character who takes his job seriously and strives for perfection in running the casino.

Ginger McKenna

Ginger McKenna is the love interest of Ace Rothstein. She is a former prostitute who is drawn into the glamorous world of Las Vegas casinos. Ginger is a beautiful and seductive woman, known for her charm and allure. However, she struggles with addiction and her turbulent past, which creates conflicts in her relationship with Ace.

Nicky Santoro

Nicky Santoro serves as the main antagonist in the story. He is a mob enforcer and childhood friend of Ace Rothstein. Nicky is a violent and unpredictable character who is sent to Las Vegas to protect the Outfit's interests. He becomes involved in various criminal activities, causing tensions to rise between him and Ace.

Lester Diamond

Lester Diamond is a supporting character in the story and Ginger's ex-husband. He is a con artist who sees Ginger's relationship with Ace as an opportunity to exploit her for financial gain. Lester is manipulative and tries to control Ginger's life, often causing conflicts between them.

Phillip Green

Phillip Green is a supporting character in the book and a mob associate. He is sent by the bosses in Kansas City to oversee Ace's operations at the Tangiers Casino. Phillip is known for his connections and ability to smooth out any conflicts that arise within the casino.

Character Traits

Sam "Ace" Rothstein

  • Intelligent
  • Meticulous
  • Perfectionist
  • Disciplined
  • Analytical

Ginger McKenna

  • Beautiful
  • Seductive
  • Addicted
  • Impulsive
  • Vulnerable

Nicky Santoro

  • Violent
  • Unpredictable
  • Loyal to the mob
  • Ruthless
  • Hot-tempered

Lester Diamond

  • Manipulative
  • Opportunistic
  • Controlling
  • Cunning
  • Deceptive

Phillip Green

  • Conniving
  • Smooth-talker
  • Influential
  • Diplomatic
  • Resourceful

Character Background

Sam "Ace" Rothstein

Ace Rothstein grew up in Chicago and developed a passion for gambling from a young age. He became known for his exceptional skills and knowledge of sports betting. His expertise caught the attention of the Chicago Outfit, who recruited him to run the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Ace's background in gambling and his attention to detail make him the perfect choice for the job.

Ginger McKenna

Ginger McKenna had a troubled childhood and was forced into prostitution at a young age. She eventually left that life behind and caught the eye of Ace Rothstein in Las Vegas. Ginger's past experiences have shaped her into a complex and troubled individual, struggling with addiction and searching for stability and love.

Nicky Santoro

Nicky Santoro grew up alongside Ace Rothstein in Chicago and has a long history with organized crime. He is known for his violent tendencies and his loyalty to the mob. Nicky's background in the criminal underworld makes him a valuable asset for the Outfit, but his impulsive nature and disregard for rules often lead to trouble.

Lester Diamond

Lester Diamond is a con artist who has crossed paths with Ginger McKenna in the past. He sees Ginger's relationship with Ace as an opportunity to exploit her for financial gain. Lester's background as a manipulative and cunning individual allows him to play a significant role in Ginger's life, causing conflicts and tension within the story.

Phillip Green

Phillip Green is a mob associate sent by the bosses in Kansas City to oversee Ace's operations at the Tangiers Casino. His background in the mob and his connections make him a valuable asset to the organization. Phillip's smooth-talking and diplomatic approach help him navigate the complex dynamics within the casino.

Character Arcs

Sam "Ace" Rothstein

Ace Rothstein starts as a successful and respected casino manager. However, as the story progresses, his relationship with Ginger and the increasing influence of Nicky Santoro cause his life to unravel. Ace's downfall is characterized by his inability to separate his personal life from his professional responsibilities, leading to his ultimate demise.

Ginger McKenna

Ginger McKenna begins as a beautiful and seductive woman who is drawn into the glamorous world of Las Vegas. However, her addiction and unresolved past issues consume her, causing her relationship with Ace to crumble. Ginger's character arc showcases her journey from vulnerability to self-destruction.

Nicky Santoro

Nicky Santoro starts as a loyal and fearsome enforcer for the mob. However, his violent tendencies and disregard for authority lead to conflicts with Ace and the Outfit. Nicky's character arc follows his descent into chaos and eventual demise as his actions catch up with him.

Lester Diamond

Lester Diamond enters the story as a manipulative and opportunistic individual who sees Ginger as a means to an end. Throughout the book, Lester's control over Ginger diminishes as she becomes more entangled with Ace. Lester's character arc demonstrates his loss of power and influence over Ginger.

Phillip Green

Phillip Green remains relatively consistent throughout the story, using his connections and diplomacy to maintain order within the casino. While he does not undergo significant personal growth, his character serves as a stabilizing force amidst the chaos caused by Ace, Ginger, and Nicky.

Relationships

Ace and Ginger

Ace and Ginger's relationship is central to the story. They are initially drawn to each other's charm and beauty, but their fundamental differences and Ginger's addiction tear them apart. Their relationship is marked by power struggles, infidelity, and betrayal.

Ace and Nicky

Ace and Nicky share a complicated friendship, rooted in their shared past and loyalty to the mob. However, as Nicky's violent tendencies escalate and his actions threaten the stability of the casino, their relationship becomes strained. Ace must navigate the delicate balance between his friendship with Nicky and his responsibilities to the casino.

Ginger and Lester

Ginger and Lester have a tumultuous relationship, marked by manipulation and control. Lester takes advantage of Ginger's vulnerability, using her for financial gain. However, as Ginger becomes more involved with Ace, Lester's influence diminishes, leading to conflicts and tension between them.

Ace and Phillip

Ace and Phillip have a professional relationship based on mutual respect and trust. Phillip serves as a liaison between Ace and the bosses in Kansas City, ensuring the smooth operation of the casino. Their relationship is characterized by diplomacy and a shared goal of maintaining the casino's profitability.

In conclusion, "Casino" by Nicholas Pileggi features a diverse cast of characters who play integral roles in the story. Each character brings their unique traits, backgrounds, and relationships, contributing to the overall narrative and character arcs. The complex dynamics between the characters drive the plot forward, creating a gripping tale of power, love, and betrayal in the world of Las Vegas casinos.