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Ship It Holla Ballas!: How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew
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Ship It Holla Ballas!: How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  276 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
To be a kid in 2006 meant growing up with the Internet. A group of smart, resourceful teens used it to master the game of poker. Taking advantage of online poker's lightning-fast pace and lackluster efforts at age verification, they earned, in just a few months, the kind of professional gambling experience that used to take a lifetime.

The Ship It Holla Ballas were the most
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 8th 2013)
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Rob Slaven
As usual I received this book from GoodReads as part of a giveaway. Also as usual, despite the very kind and generous consideration of getting a free book, I give my candid opinions below.

The subtitle really sums it up pretty nicely. A group of kids from different parts of the country get hooked on online poker, do nothing but play all day for years and make a ton of money doing it. They live decadent lifestyles, learn some key life lessons (or don't) and finally end up happy (or not). Think bil
Nov 07, 2012 Aviv rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This book was absolutely awesome! It was so well written, fast paced and crazy that I completely forgot that I was reading a book of non-fiction. Completely nuts! I would most definitely recommend reading this book!
Mar 06, 2017 Kjersti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This kind of book is right up my alley. I love learning about other people doing fascinating things. I don't play poker so didn't understand some of the references, but I managed just fine.
Basically, this one is The Dirt: Confessions Of The World's Most Notorious Rock Band, only instead of being about rock stars, it's about poker stars. It's fine as far as it goes, but nothing special.

Having spent years playing, I already knew a lot of these stories and basically all of these players, but I can see the appeal to a certain sleazy glance into what happens when people who are very young suddenly find themselves making absurd amounts of money.

The book never really does the job it sets
Clare Fitzgerald
Sep 23, 2016 Clare Fitzgerald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not 100% sure I was going to like Ship It Holla Ballas.

Quite frankly, I was unsure if I was going to like it for some of the same reasons I was curious it. I was also a teenager during the Bush years, so I'm largely of an age with the people followed. I was unhip and culturally oblivious enough to have no idea that the poker boom was happening, but I do have some memories of that time period: Namely, that it was an awful cultural wasteland full of cargo shorts and McMansions, and that tee
Miriam Downey
Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

The obscure title Ship It Holla Ballas turns out to be the name of a group of online poker players. The subtitle says it all: “How a bunch of 19-year-old college dropouts used the Internet to become poker’s loudest, craziest, and richest crew.”

I have to admit at the outset I know nothing about poker, so I was a bit amused when I was sent this book from the publisher. However, I do know something about 19-year-olds, and their part
Dec 26, 2012 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read anything by Tucker Max, but I can imagine that there’s a little thematic overlap between this book and the Tucker Max oeuvre. I enjoyed the hell out of this book, though, because however much Tucker Max there is in this story about young, wealthy poker players indulging alcohol, pot, strippers, and various acts of obnoxiousness, there’s also a lot of Michael Lewis.

Like the baseball nerds of Lewis’ Moneyball, or the finance professionals of his The Big Short, the (very) young prota
Jan 23, 2013 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic, quick read that couldn't have been more fun for someone who spent most every waking moment from 2003 to 2006 thinking about cards. It's a sort of pop-anthropology of a brief era in the gambling world and gaming culture that will never be replicated, when a bunch of insanely talented teenagers got fantastically wealthy by becoming very good cardplayers at exactly the right moment.

I picked this up the night before a day I knew would be filled with standing around and killing t
Bill Mackela
Nov 09, 2012 Bill Mackela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read-books
This the true story of a few teenagers who are used to playing video games on their computers. These guys are able to convert that experience, along with their knowledge of how to get the most out of the internet into a ton of cash. This is a story of what they did, not a "How to Win at Online Poker" book. The book is about their lives as they found out that they could win a lot of money playing Texas Hold'em on the various online poker web sites. They got together in online forums and discovere ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book about the true story of a group of college kids who drop out to pursue the riches, rewards, and pitfalls of the online poke craze of the early 2000's.

The kids earn more in a few hands sitting behind a laptop than some people do in a lifetime. Although, there are stories out there about the true stories of players exploiting the game this is not one of them. This is a bunch of college age kids who, too young to play in live tournaments, are able to play online using mu
Jan 29, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
They lived the life everyone wants to lead. Some are still living it.

In Ben Mezrich fashion, co-authors Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback chronicle the mid-2000s lives of a bunch of young online poker players who share info through an online poker forum called Two Plus Two (of which I'm a member but missed out on these stories) and storm the poker world, making millions. They live it up like a bunch of young, rich dudes will -- dumping the winnings into strippers, cars, Dom Perignon, and an
Emi Bevacqua
Jun 18, 2013 Emi Bevacqua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I actually dated an unemployed, multi-tabling, 2+2posting, 20-something, online poker player who subjected me to hours upon hours of waiting table-side at casinos in Reno, Vegas, Niagara Falls, Missouri Riverboat, etc not to mention the watching of forevermany hours of televised poker play; so I have a rudimentary understanding of the subject matter, and I have to say this is the funniest non-fiction poker book I ever read!

These 19-year old Hundredthousandaires made me cringe, with their disres
Ship It Holla Ballas is a group of young men around 2006 - 2008 who dominated the world of poker through the internet. They were computer geeks from the US and Canada among other places who figured out algorithms and had strength in probability to figure out how to win online. The men forsook their families, college and other parts of their life to play poker, often to move to Las Vegas to play in the big games. At the time, three large companies ran most the online poker games and from overseas ...more
Richard Magahiz
Feb 06, 2013 Richard Magahiz rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in celebrity culture
Luck delivered this paperback into my hands when I won a giveaway on Twitter; it was not one I normally would have pulled off the shelf. It's a book you can read with virtually no poker knowledge at all, just substituting "extreme good luck" and "extreme bad luck" at appropriate points. Mainly I kept with the reading as a sort of reference to a set of characters I know I wouldn't meet in person if I were given a thousand years, because the kinds of things that motivate them never matched those t ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ship It Holla Ballas is a fun, but hardly relatable book. A group of college students get hooked into online poker, and learn important life lessons throughout their money-making journey. The novel represents the simple message that you should do what you have most desire of doing, which is represented by the main characters actions.

In my opinion, the book can be read with minimal interest in poker, since it is all about the protagonist's money-making strategies and luck. The characters spend t
Nov 11, 2012 wade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I was more of a person interested in the gambling world I would probably give this book five stars. The book tells the story of a group of under twenty men who strike it rich by playing internet poker before it is banned in the United States. For me, it was more a fascinating story of how young people think they are invincible. The guys become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams and the book tells of how their lives change for better or worse. Some of them are still players in the Las Vegas g ...more
May 18, 2013 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The screennames were different, the experiences different, but it was the same wild ride for all of us. So much nostalgia revisiting the past through the coming of age story of kids I grew up with during the online poker boom. What a unique and amazing journey winning and losing enormous sums of money on the Internet.
"Whether you believe they're brilliant young minds who braved uncharted waters to make their wildest fantasies come true or arrogant little pricks who got beaned in the head by goo
Jul 14, 2014 Eddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poker-gambling
It was okay. Good background story of an amazing poker crew.

On finishing this book I felt like something was lacking, like I was waiting for some great piece of wisdom or insight to be bestowed upon me but it didn't come. It also didn't really talk about how today the playing field has been levelled and how much more difficult it is to make it on the poker circuit.

I would have liked to know more about what the new 'crews' are up to, how they're making their money, and what makes them the equival
Sep 20, 2014 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly entertaining account of a group of extremely successful poker players. Don't expect any insight into why they've enjoyed such success, though. Nor is there any self-reflection by the players themselves on how lucky they've been. I'm not suggesting poker is entirely a game of luck -- it certainly contains an element of skill. But when you rapidly go from a tiny bankroll to millionaire, it's predominantly because of a horseshoe up the rear. Overall, this book is more of a literary "Life Sty ...more
Jered Johnston
Jan 16, 2014 Jered Johnston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but not surprising

the book was interesting and extremely easy to read. not sure someone with no interest in poker would enjoy the book, but I found it very entertaining.

that being said the stories told are not that surprising, and the book comes to an obvious and abrupt ending, closing with black Friday.

recommended to any card player
May 16, 2013 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poker
A quick read, somewhat fun and interesting. I found it hard to connect with any players involved with the stories. Could be just a bit of envy keeping me from investing. I have been on a bit of a poker strategy book bend as of late, so SIHB was a nice break from sample hand problems, and M vs Q scenarios.
Sep 27, 2015 Glen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story about some of the people that started playing online poker around when I played. Made somewhat more interesting by actually knowing who the people behind the screen name are. Always enjoyable to read about degenerates engaging in debauchery and these guys were able to do it in excess, also get a glimpse into life now that they have grown up.
Mar 21, 2013 Cyberpope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wild! Interesting tales from a bunch of college dropouts who became rich playing poker online before they were legally old enough to play in Vegas; at 18 & 19 they lived a rock star lifestyle, with limos, Cristal, & strippers. . .

Big surprise: Tom "Durrrr" Dwan started with them, & was once a Holla Balla, too!
David Bond
Jun 10, 2013 David Bond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this down, a truly inspiring and interesting story. This book fired me back up into poker, I actually got so fired up to play from the inspiration I had a $2k upswing the two weeks while reading it.

Ha, thanks BRO
Merrilee Boniface
Jan 03, 2016 Merrilee Boniface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True story of a bunch of nerdy kids that struck it rich playing online poker and went nuts partying and acting like fools as a result. Guilty pleasure. No life lessons or insights to be had here, but I couldn't help but enjoy following their ridiculous exploits.
Aug 14, 2015 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
About what you'd expect: college-age boys make money, lose money, make more money, act like ballers, do/bet on dumb stuff.
Nov 20, 2013 Jonottawa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is ridiculously underrated. The writing is wonderful. The story is engaging. I read this straight through.
Oct 26, 2014 Timothy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you have heard of twoplustwo this book is not aimed at you.
Paul Carr
As fast-paced and enjoyable as the financial rise of the book's young protagonists, vacillating between pensive and vacuous.
Nov 29, 2012 Lain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting from a cultural/sociological perspective. The nicknames drove me nuts, plus the moral bankruptcy. Liked seeing some redemption at the end.
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