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Old 05-04-2008, 01:35 PM   #76
Zimri007
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Greetings Ted & All,
Interesting reviews, looking forward to reading some of the books. Here some of my reviews:

Man behind the Shades (UK title) by Nolan Dalla & Peter Alson
10 out 10. This book had good flow, combined Stu Ungar's own word from his interviews. Gets pretty sad by the end, even tough you know he dies.

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
8 out 10. I skipped the Binion trail parts (boring,yawn). Poker parts were good and realitic.

Biggest Game in Town by Alveraz
10 out 10. Absolutely brilliant. Great flow,interesting and most of all not very long.

Bigger Deal by Tony Holden
9 out 10. Very good book. Made me think that British writers are excellent at the craft of writing than all others put together. Haven't read Big Deal yet but will shortly. I give it 9 because of the sheer size.

Swimming with the Devil Fish by Des Wilson.
7 out 10. Good but flow could have been better. Starts off all over the place and them comes together and than back all over the place.

The Professor,the Banker and The Suicide King by Michael Graig
10 out 10. I read this book in 3 sittings.Interesting topic, great insight into the big game and most of all egos galore.

Read' em and Weep Edited by John Stravinsky
9 out of 10. Short Articles/stories/biographies,etc. Enjoyable. Wish some of them would have been newer.

Ace on the River. Waiting to read it cover to cover.

That's all I can think of for now!

Best Regards,

Omar
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:20 PM   #77
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

"The Picasso Flop by Vince Van Patten and Robert Randisi. 8 (out of 10). I liked this one more than I thought I would. A few too many shameless plugs for Hollywood Poker and The World Poker Tour. Sometimes the writing sags, but the general story kept me involved."

I'd be hard-pressed to give it a two. The opening cash-game was nauseating. They were playing in a game where the first raise was to two hundred or so and they each had maybe three thousand in front of them. It might have been worse than that as my copy of the book is under a bus somewhere. Then the protagonist decides to call all-in on one out because he wants to impress people. With what? Being an imbecile.

There were other awful things, like a girly who bought into the ME with money from her inheritance looking down on sattelite winners. If she had been an unsympathetic character or if it weren't clear that the author agreed with her it would not been as disgusting.

Once they established the mystery and started trying to sovle it, it was not worse than mediocre.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:34 PM   #78
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

I intend to read _Texas Poker Wisdom_ despite the incessant self-promotion. And despite the title, which makes it look more like a how-to book than a novel. And I don't know why that bothers me, considering the number of how-to poker books I have bought over the years.

Maybe it's the juxtaposition of Texas and wisdom.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:01 PM   #79
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimri007 View Post
Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
8 out 10. I skipped the Binion trail parts (boring,yawn). Poker parts were good and realitic.

Biggest Game in Town by Alveraz
10 out 10. Absolutely brilliant. Great flow,interesting and most of all not very long.

Bigger Deal by Tony Holden
9 out 10. Very good book. Made me think that British writers are excellent at the craft of writing than all others put together. Haven't read Big Deal yet but will shortly. I give it 9 because of the sheer size.

The Professor,the Banker and The Suicide King by Michael Graig
10 out 10. I read this book in 3 sittings.Interesting topic, great insight into the big game and most of all egos galore.

Read' em and Weep Edited by John Stravinsky
9 out of 10. Short Articles/stories/biographies,etc. Enjoyable. Wish some of them would have been newer.
The first three (and Big Deal too) are greats. I'd give these all 10's. The next two have some 10 parts, but also smatterings of 6 to 9. Overall, I'd say 8's.

Quote:
Swimming with the Devil Fish by Des Wilson.
7 out 10. Good but flow could have been better. Starts off all over the place and them comes together and than back all over the place.
The first quarter is a biography of Devilfish which earns a 5 by itself, and could have been a 7 if completed. The rest of the book is a 2, dull characters, little poker, disorganized muddle. Overall, I guess 4.
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:08 PM   #80
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

KOASW FTW

Great section about going on megatilt at the WSOP. Easily, IMO, the best NOVEL on poker, likely because as mentioned above it was written pre-boom.

Pity the Rounders & Tilt scripts weren't more like it, the obv Rounders is classic as is.

For Non-fiction, it will always be Biggest Game by Alvarez IMO (I read it in New Yorker when it came out), tho Big Deal & PFS are also obv must reads.

For tourney accounts, try to find the Andy Glazer (RIP) WSOP FT reports online, esp the ones about Seidel-Chan & Hellmuth-Scotty from 2001. The one on Cyndy Violette from the last year at Binion's is good too.

Before he died, Andy told me he was going to revise/expand his best reports into a full-blown tourney book (strategy, history, biographies); such a waste.

Last edited by Bill Murphy; 05-04-2008 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:11 PM   #81
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
The Picasso Flop by Vince Van Patten and Robert Randisi.
I just couldn't get into this book/story.

As a side-note, I have never read a book that talked so much about poker, while at the same time, talked so little about poker.

I hope you know what I mean...
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:34 AM   #82
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Roy Cooke's co-author, John Bond writes excellent mysteries with poker as a backdrop.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:20 AM   #83
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimri007 View Post
Greetings Ted & All,
Interesting reviews, looking forward to reading some of the books. Here some of my reviews:

Man behind the Shades (UK title) by Nolan Dalla & Peter Alson
10 out 10. This book had good flow, combined Stu Ungar's own word from his interviews. Gets pretty sad by the end, even tough you know he dies.

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
8 out 10. I skipped the Binion trail parts (boring,yawn). Poker parts were good and realitic.

Biggest Game in Town by Alveraz
10 out 10. Absolutely brilliant. Great flow,interesting and most of all not very long.

Bigger Deal by Tony Holden
9 out 10. Very good book. Made me think that British writers are excellent at the craft of writing than all others put together. Haven't read Big Deal yet but will shortly. I give it 9 because of the sheer size.

Swimming with the Devil Fish by Des Wilson.
7 out 10. Good but flow could have been better. Starts off all over the place and them comes together and than back all over the place.

The Professor,the Banker and The Suicide King by Michael Graig
10 out 10. I read this book in 3 sittings.Interesting topic, great insight into the big game and most of all egos galore.

Read' em and Weep Edited by John Stravinsky
9 out of 10. Short Articles/stories/biographies,etc. Enjoyable. Wish some of them would have been newer.

Ace on the River. Waiting to read it cover to cover.

That's all I can think of for now!

Best Regards,

Omar
Omar, thanks for contributing to the thread, but none of the books you list are NOVELS. NOVELS ARE FICTION, not NON-FICTION. A few people in this thread dont understand that distinction.
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:56 PM   #84
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

for OP

i agree deadman's bluff doesn't really end

but it is continued in deadman's poker almost exactly from the ending pt minus some summarizing from the last book

its a good easy read
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:38 AM   #85
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted_Thompson View Post
I have read a bunch of poker novels recently. Here are my quick ratings 1-10:

Broke by Brandon Adams. 7 (out of 10) Pretty good. A little short. It also just seems like a thinly-veiled auto-biography?.
A "little" short? It's practically a leaflet
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:33 PM   #86
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Tap City by Ron Abell (Little, Brown; 1985)

Features characters obviously based on Johnny Moss and Doyle Brunson and was so well written that I was surprised at the time that the novel didn't do better. It's main fault was that it was written twenty years too soon. Set among the players at the final table of a Reno tournament, it drew those players in three dimensions and was able to tell their stories (and analyze their strategies and play) in a book that --at 274 surprising, suspenseful and well-written pages-- ended way too soon.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:59 AM   #87
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

anyone ever read a book called "Under The Gun"? Never read it, but saw it advertised in cardplayer mag I think. Tossed it on my amazon wishlist for later.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:44 PM   #88
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will in New Have View Post
I intend to read _Texas Poker Wisdom_ despite the incessant self-promotion. And despite the title, which makes it look more like a how-to book than a novel. And I don't know why that bothers me, considering the number of how-to poker books I have bought over the years.

Maybe it's the juxtaposition of Texas and wisdom.
Nearly didn't read this because of the title - sounds like it would be the usual soundbites - but its a fine read.

Cards by Jonathan Maxwell is excellent and much underated. Production has many faults but it captures something essential about the primative gambling of a degenerate poker player.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:45 PM   #89
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

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A "little" short? It's practically a leaflet
excellent read imo but my copy had the last 297 pages missing.
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:48 PM   #90
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Improbable
By Adam Fawler

Neat story about guy named David Caine that can interpret all present variables into future equity. When he loses an impossible poker hand to a mob guy for more than he can pay, David has to learn not just how to sense probability, but how to affect it. What better way than to take on the casinos?

A lot of science, a lot of action. Occasionally gets bogged down in explanations of quantum mechanics, probability theories, Schrodingers Cat, etc., but they are well-written if you like those subjects, or can be skipped over if you don't.

Ironically, the story pretty much details the evolution of a high stakes poker player from a nitty TAG to a semi-bluff shoving fool.
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Old 11-26-2009, 05:49 PM   #91
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted_Thompson View Post
I have read a bunch of poker novels recently. Here are my quick ratings 1-10:

Broke by Brandon Adams. 7 (out of 10) Pretty good. A little short. It also just seems like a thinly-veiled auto-biography?

King of a Small World by Rick Bennet. 9 (out of 10). Strong. About a grinder in Philly. I wanted more.

Death on the Flop by Jackie Chance. 5 (out of 10). So so. Readable but a little dopey. Makes some errors about poker hands and calls a DVD a CD repeatedly.

The Prop by Pete Hautman. 8 (out of 10). Good book about a prop player at an Arizona casino and a murder mystery.

Deadman's Poker by James Swain. 7 (out of 10). Ok, but it seemed like the ending was missing or something.

Shut up and Deal by Jesse May. 7 (out of 10). Like Broke, just seems like a thinly veiled autobiography of a player in high stakes games in AC and elsewhere. Into small details and talks about changing his outfits a lot.

The Picasso Flop by Vince Van Patten and Robert Randisi. 8 (out of 10). I liked this one more than I thought I would. A few too many shameless plugs for Hollywood Poker and The World Poker Tour. Sometimes the writing sags, but the general story kept me involved.

Dead Money by Rudy Stegemoeller. 8 (out of 10). Readable and involving. Set at a tournament at a Foxwoods-like casino in New England.

The Rogues' Game by Milton Burton. 9 (our of 10). An artfully written novel set in Texas after WWII. Cool book.

If anyone has any suggestions for other poker novels to check out, I would love to hear them.
I'm bouncing this because I've been using this lately as a guide to poker novels. Here are some responses to some of these:

Broke by Brandon Adams (which was self-published) is out of print and unavailable.

King of a Small World by Rick Bennet. I'd pretty much agree with 9 out of 10. I'd already read this one before Ted's post because I used to read Rick Bennet's posts in the pre-2+2 era (Yes, kids there was a time) when he would frequently post to RecGamblingPoker. He & I once exchanged emails about a proposed visit to Toronto (he had a project to play in as many casinos in as many cities as was possible), but it never materialized.

The Prop by Pete Hautman. I think Hautman is the best of the poker-mystery novelists. This is a solid entry.

Shut up and Deal by Jesse May. Another I'd already read. Though some of it seems a bit silly on first encounter, I find it's stayed with me. I've since noticed May as a TV commentator on the European poker circuit (though I don't recall seeing him recently).

The Rogues' Game by Milton Burton. Ted gives it 9 our of 10, perhaps a little generous, but it is good, not just for (or so much for) the poker but because it gives a good picture of the old Texas oil industry (which I remeber as a kid).

As well, I just finished Tap City by Ron Abell, a novel mentioned by a later poster--a poker novel quite evidently influenced by Arthur Hailey’s 60s and 70s best-sellers in its use of multiple plotlines. If somewhat dated (it was published in 1985) both in terms of poker and sensibility, it was still a pleasant entertainment. About a 7-stud tourney in Reno , its portrayal of poker is generally quite reasonable—but there aare some odd features about the tourney, though perhaps they were accurate at the time(?), such as having an absent player not merely being blinded out but having his hands call all bets(!). I also found myself also wondering about a 9-player final table for a 7-stud tourney. The oddest feature of the plot was having a cross-dresser as one of the central characters, though he's very likeable. Generally recommended if you're interested in poker fiction.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:42 AM   #92
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellinToronto View Post
Broke by Brandon Adams (which was self-published) is out of print and unavailable.
Broke is in stock on Amazon right now, so I don't think that's quite right.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:44 PM   #93
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Thanks for starting this thread ..great recommendations here....read "The Prop", King of a Small World", "Shut Up and Deal" and "The Rougue's Game" enjoyed all of them...just started "Dead Money"..........

"King of a small World" being the best and "Shut Up and Deal " getting 2nd place....
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:20 AM   #94
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

See also Lucky at Cards by Lawrence Block, the noir story of a card mechanic who wants to dispose of his lover's husband. Depressing but gripping and well-written.

Check out this cover:


BTW, the opening pages of Shut Up and Deal is the best discussion of poker I've ever read.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:13 PM   #95
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusThermopyle View Post
The Cincinnati Kid by Richard Jessup
Out of print but you might find it in your library.
is that also a steve mcqueen movie or am i confused?
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:51 PM   #96
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

I liked "Tales of old Las Vegas" by Sam O'Connor. Poker features quite heavily in the book, but it's not just about poker.

Cinncinnati Kid is also a film with McQueen in it.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:04 PM   #97
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

"The Big Blind" by former Sleeper (British band) lead singer Louise Wener is a pretty good read. Good fun. Not as down and dirty as some poker novels, but I enjoyed it.
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:12 PM   #98
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

i loved Broke by Brandon Adams. i read it in one shot. i just could not put it down, very good novel.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:34 PM   #99
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRONICFEVER View Post
i loved Broke by Brandon Adams. i read it in one shot. i just could not put it down, very good novel.
Yes, when I wrote that _Broke_ was out of print, I was confused, thinking of another self-published novel, _Cards_ by Jonathan Maxwell, recommended by an earlier poster, who said that it was "excellent and much underated. ... it captures something essential about the primative gambling of a degenerate poker player.” I ordered this from Amazon a while back and I still get periodic notes saying they are unable to obtain it but are still trying.

I actually did read _Broke_, which I was less enthusiastic about than others who've posted about it. I thought it was more novella--and a short one at that--than novel. (So, yes, it is easy to read in one sitting if that's an important criterion.) I did think it started really well. But Adams seems not to have taken the time to turn it into a fully developed book with rounded out characters or plot.

But it did have a very real feel for the game and I'd love to see Adams do something more.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:15 PM   #100
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Re: Poker Novels--My Quick Ratings.

OP, would you mind giving a list of a few non-poker novels you really like, kinda like, and don't like (just a few each) so we can get an idea of how our tastes relate to yours?

Thanks for the list btw
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