Friday, June 03, 2005

Review: The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King by Michael Craig

Review: The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King, Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time by Michael Craig

What an enjoyable book! Michael Craig did a great job in describing sessions of incredible high limit heads-up Hold’em played by the billionaire banker Andy Beal against many great professional poker players in heads-up matches. The pros included Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Ted Forrest, Howard Lederer, Jennifer Harmon, Barry Greenstein, Todd Brunson and many more. The book is fun to read and the narrative is free flowing. It’s a rare glimpse into the lives, thoughts, fears, and nerves of the high limit pros with a snippet of heads-up strategy. Although this is not a strategy book, it is still definitely worthwhile to read about the players’ preparation for the heads-up matches as well as the lifestyles of these high limit pros. In particular, it is interesting to see how Andy Beal (the rich amateur) prepares in order to even the playing field between him and the best players in the world. The pros pool their funds together so they can have the bankroll to play games starting with $10,000 / $20,000 all the way up to $100,000 / $200,000. Each side has their share of wins and losses (I won’t spoil who wins at the end). While reading the book, I found myself partially rooting for Beal (the intelligent outsider and underdog), while also partially rooting for the pros (the best at their game should win, right?). I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in poker.

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