Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reading List Update

As I mentioned in my last post, I just finished the book that I was reading. The book is "The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time" by Michael Craig. I absolutely loved this book. This post is about why I loved the book and why you should read it.

First of all, this book is not instructional and contains very little in the way of detailed descriptions of hand play. Yet, it is about poker. When I heard the stories and rumors about the big game, I wanted to know all about it. It was just incredible to me that some rich dude would throw down the gauntlet and get the huge game he was looking for. When I heard that there was a book out about the game, I jumped on it. I was expecting to learn the story of the game and how it went down, and that's about all I was expecting.

Instead, what I got was an inside look at the lives of the top pros that were involved in the big game, the games they played with each other, the dynamics of the group that formed to play the challenger, and lots of interesting other tidbits. Most significantly, through reading this book, I got to know the challenger, and got to understand that he was anything but some rich dude looking for a game. Michael Craig paints a compelling picture of an extremely bright, extremely motivated challenger that went to unprecedented lengths to prepare himself for the matches. The fact that the mystery gentleman was competitive in his games with the top pros was just unbelievable to me until I absorbed the entirety of who he is and what his motivation seemed to be. The author does an excellent job of weaving the background of each of the pros, the life of the challenger, and the game details into a compelling story. It was more exciting to me than playing poker. Wow.

In the end, I ended up admiring the challenger even more than some of the top pros that played him. I found the story inspiring. While I may not achieve anything of the same magnitude, ever, I still found the story very inspiring. I can make myself a better player; a much, much better player. I may never be in the position to beat the top pros, but that's okay.

Not until I heard Michael Craig speak about his experiences writing the book did I understand what an achievement it was for him as a writer. The people involved in the big game are all very private people. The challenger is an even more private person. Nobody wanted to give any information out about the huge sums of money involved, the strategy and tactics, etc. Yet, using just one or two casual contacts, the author was able to work his way into the inner circle of the top pros, and into the confidence of the challenger. It must have taken a huge amount of determination and perseverance to pull that off.

Thank you, Michael, for writing the book. And, thank you for taking the time to speak with me at the WPBT event. It was great.

Next post: a break-down of my live action play during the WPBT trip.


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