Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Book Review The Professor the Banker and the Suicide King

Book Review:  The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King.  Inside the Richest Poker Game of all Time. By Michael Craig

Ok, I admit that I’m a little late in reviewing this book, as its been out for quite a while, and anyone who might be inclined to read has probably already done so. I finally got around to reading it, so I’m going to do a review anyway.  

On the slim chance that you don’t already know the premise, the Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King is the story of billionaire Andy Beal and how he challenged a group of the worlds best poker players in increasingly high stakes poker matches over the course of a few years.

The game first happened when Andy Beal discovered that he enjoyed challenge of poker, but found full ring games boring, as he would often have to sit there folding hand after hand.  Heads up play was to be much more exciting since he was in every hand, and he started challenging some of the high stakes players to heads up matches.  The problem was that there were a number of big time players around that saw him and his unlimited bankroll as an easy score, so everyone wanted to play with him, making heads up games nearly impossible.  (For some reason the poker room refused to set up a heads up table, which would have eliminated the possibility of other players jumping in.  I didn’t quite follow the reason for that).  

So Beal and Doyle Brunson came up with a way to guarantee that their heads up matches would be uninterrupted.  Any player that they felt might sit down at a table in which Andy was playing was offered the chance to pool their money and play against him as a team.  This would ensure that everyone that wanted a piece of Andy got his chance, and also gave Andy the chance to only play heads up, which he preferred.

So why would such a smart guy make such a huge –EV play?  Andy isn’t the kind of guy to back away from a challenge.  The money wasn’t significant to him, and most importantly, he felt he could negate the poker pro’s advantage by forcing them to play at stakes that were over their comfort zone.

I more or less knew the plotline going into the book and to be honest, if it hadn’t been so well reviewed I probably wouldn’t have bothered reading it.  Despite that, I really enjoyed it.  It was a very fast read, and written in such a way that you don’t want to put it down even though your probably already know what’s going to happen.

The most interesting parts of the book aren’t even the heads up matches themselves.  Throughout the book, Craig gives you the history of each of the participants and how they came to find themselves at the biggest cash game in country.  It’s the stories of those players and how they became the best players in the world that was most intriguing.  

In addition to the stories of the pros we all know, and the highest stakes cash game ever, is the story of the poker boom itself.  When Andy Beal first found himself at a table with these top players, Poker was just about ready to explode.  This was before Moneymaker won his bracelet and before the World Poker Tour and during the time when online poker was still in its infancy.  Craig takes you back as these “degenerate gamblers” turn into celebrities over the course of a few short years.

And plus, the book is about poker.  How bad could it be?  I definitely recommend it.  If you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy.  Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.



Post a Comment

<< Home