July 31, 2006

Poker Stories

Following some Amazon recommendations, I decided to take a chance on Michael Craig's "The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King", which is the story of a billionaire's attempts to beat a bunch of cash-game pros in Vegas over the course of a few years. I'm not too interested in reading about this kind of poker, head-to-head limit Hold 'Em, but thankfully, the book isn't much about the actual game play.

Instead, a nice bonus of this book is that I finally got to read a lot more of the backstory behind the pros I see on TV on the World Poker Tour or High Stakes Poker. I have an immense amount of respect now for players like Ted Forrest, Todd Brunson and Jennifer Harman, and I found out a lot more about some of the other characters like Howard Lederer, Johnny Chan and Chip Reese, not to mention what Doyle Brunson is doing these days (rarely do I read anything about him that isn't just a biography of his life before he got to Vegas).

If you are a fan of either of the TV shows that I mentioned (or any of the World Series of Poker broadcasts), you will definitely want to read this book. It tells you what has been going on in Vegas (not just with the players but with the casino industry) while these shows have gained in popularity. In addition to all of this backstory, the author (Craig) also tells the story of how Andy Beal (the billionaire) fared against all the pros, including the negotiations of stakes, game conditions, and so forth, and what Beal did to make himself a better player.

All in all, surprisingly good. Nothing much here useful about poker strategy, but probably the best collection of present-day poker stories out there (as opposed to the countless books that retell the story of the origin of the World Series of Poker).

Posted by Observer at July 31, 2006 10:30 PM

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Yeah I read that last November and mentioned it but with few details.

Read Amarillo Slim's book, it's entertaining. He's a nut.

Posted by: Humbaba on August 1, 2006 08:35 AM