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Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers

3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  186 ratings  ·  28 reviews
“The intricacies of family and the complexities of the games they play mingle wonderfully here in a memoir quite unlike any other.”—George Plimpton, author of Truman Capote

Katy Lederer grew up on the bucolic campus of an exclusive East Coast boarding school where her father taught English, her mother retreated into crosswords and scotch, and her much older siblings played
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 12th 2003 by Crown (first published 2003)
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Jason Koivu
These are the books that get written and read just after a wave has crested. In this case, that wave was the Texas Hold 'Em poker craze.

Everybody was doing it! It was 2004 and an absolute unknown player, Chris Moneymaker, had just won the most highly coveted World Series of Poker championship. This caused an incredible stir of interest in poker, almost a rebirth. It brought instant world-wide recognition to the game of Texas Hold 'Em, a variant on the five card stud standard known and played by
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Russell
I started this book years ago, thought it sucked and put it down. Then recently I saw it sitting there taunting me and decided to try again. God only knows why I would do that to myself.

Pretend that you're reading a Ben Mezrich book. It's all about smart young people, doing shady shit and getting rich. Only, instead of Mezrich gleefully guiding you through a sordid life of excess, Lederer is appalled by the things around her (even her own participation in the shadiness) and desperately wants you
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Guy Choate
I bought this book years ago, when still followed professional poker enough to know who they were. I knew who Lederer's siblings were from TV. This book feels like it's trying to be about them, but it's masked as a memoir about the author. She's using her siblings as a tool to build intrigue, but there's no payoff because we're always on the outside of what's actually being presented.
Lindz-o
I read the whole book, which is something. Some of the writing was beautiful and poetic (I was not surprised to learn that the author is also a poet), but many of the scenes and chapters felt disjointed and out of place. I often felt like the author lost her train of thought and forgot why she was including certain scenes. Overall, the story wasn't as riveting or interesting as I hoped it would be.
Paula
Katy Lederer's trajectory in becoming a poet was perhaps more unusual than most, and it is that "growing up" that she tells the tale of in her memoir Poker Face. The story/bio has all the elements of a great read considering that her mother (a purported "genius")and older brother and sister all become professional gamblers, first in NY and subsequently in Las Vegas, that saddest and most glittery of American cities. Her father teaches for many years at an elite high school for the very rich in N ...more
Don Edgar
I had played poker against Katy a few times although I had never really spoken to her. She always seemed out-of-place (In a stylish New England finishing-school sort of way) in the various casinos which she frequented for a time. ... So when I saw the book, and figured out who she was, I pounced.

It turned out that my personal experiences were very closely aligned with hers ... same gambling venues ... same universities (in inverted order) ... same cities and so on.

I loved the book. She does a gr
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Ensiform
The author, a poet and daughter of author Richard Lederer, tells of his quietly dysfunctional family: her neurotic father, alcoholic mother, and siblings who left home to become heavy hitter poker players in Vegas. Lederer writes well, with an engaging style that is polished yet simple.

But her memoir is overall too light, a mosaic of only slightly related anecdotes --- her mother trying out for “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” housesitting for her brother, adjusting to a wealthy boarding school.
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Ann Diab
I am left mostly with this as an impression: " ... ". Some of the stories in the book were interesting. Many of them feel rushed and oddly inserted. Even though all of the depictions are expertly crafted, mostly you are left wondering why this story was told at all.
Odd timing that I picked up this book right around the time the Justice Department brought allegations against the book's impetus, Howard Lederer. I had been meaning to read it ever since it was published, which was only a couple of
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Danny Raz
Thoroughly enjoyable memoir from the younger sister of poker stars Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. Howard Lederer's story--which started with hotly contested chess matches against his father, and ended with him being one of the most feared sports and poker gamblers in the world--fascinated me the most. Katy Lederer's struggle to find her place in an ultra-competitive family gave the book a satisfying arc. Interesting read, especially if you're into high-stakes gaming.
Abby
Katy Lederer is "famous" for being the sister of two top-notch poker players from a family with a penchant for gambling. She is also a published poet with an MFA from Iowa. Therefore, I thought the family memoir would be lyrical and observantly analytical. However, Lederer never explains why her family was so attracted, in fact compelled, to take risks, and she never explains why she felt such a need to record it.
Linnea
More of a memoir than a poker memoir (see her sister, Annie Duke's _How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker_ for a more focused poker memoir), this is a compelling look at a highly intelligent, but odd and dysfunctional family. It has some interesting ideas about what draws people to certain kinds of games and professions.
David Long
Poet Katy Lederer re-counts a childhood and young adulthood growing up, literally in a House of Games. Youngest daughter of word maven Richard Lederer and kid sister to poker pros Howard Lederer and Annie Duke, she tells a compelling story of an unusually accomplished though frequently difficult and dysfunctional family.
Joanie
This book was interesting to me largely because of the author's views of her older brother and sister, professional poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. I am familiar with her siblings' careers and so found this book interesting. Outside of that, it was kind of a generic memoir, and a little patchy.
Tim
Sister to Howard (I hate to say it, but he's probably a crook) Lederer and Annie Duke, the semi-famous poker player; it's really a memoir of her life as a Lederer (Richard Lederer the word guy is their father). A really rewarding book by a talented writer (and probably not just for poker players).
Luckngrace
Written by the younger sister of the famous Howard Lederer and Annie Duke, I enjoyed the inside look at the making of a poker star. I did feel, however, that big bro and sis probably didn't appreciate her portrayals or their lives and motivations. All in all, just okay.
Elizabeth Michael
I thought this book would prove more entertaining to someone who likes poker as much as I do, and it did have it's entertaining anecdotes and poker-playing strategies, but overall I discovered I like playing poker better than I like reading about it.
Bibi Rose
Parts of this book were excellent, but I wanted to read more about the gambling. The really good stuff abut that was mostly dumped in via hurried dialogue.

For a family saga with a gambling theme I much prefer DOUBLE DOWN by the Barthelme brothers.
Dawn
It reads like a good first draft, but it lacks the polish of a finished book.
I know that any ending to a memoir is artificial, but the ending is important.
This book didn't end. It just . . . stopped.
Georgediablo
It's a pretty average book. Had some interesting moments, but mostly I feel unsatisfied. The first half was far more interesting than the last. It's as if Katy struggled to finish it.
Laura
Better at the start than at the end. She writes well, but the stories petered off without really going anywhere or saying anything. Didn't really understand the ending … too bad.
Shareen Wornson
Katy Lederer is the not so famous sister of famous gambling siblings Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. How she fits in to this family of gamblers and makes her own life. A very good memoir!
Alena
It was an interesting biography. I was pleasantly surprised that it focused more on the lives of each of the family members instead of the actual game of poker.
Melissa
Really disappointed in this book. The narrative was disjointed and I didn't feel that the author was being honest about herself or her family.
Brian
A decent memoire about the Lederer family ... the author is sibling to professional poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke.
Mindi
An interesting story and peek into the lives of professional gamblers. A nice quick read.
Jef
considering the source, this was less substantial than i would have guessed.
Jillian
I can relate.
Cassandra
Cassandra marked it as to-read
May 02, 2015
Nancycoopline
Nancycoopline marked it as to-read
May 01, 2015
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Katherine (Katy) Lederer is an American author and poet, best known for the memoir Poker Face .

Lederer is the daughter of author Richard Lederer and the sister of well-known poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke.
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