Curtis Butturff's Reviews > Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
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's review
Oct 21, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, travel, games
Read in October, 2010

Parts of this book where used almost wholesale as building blocks for Cowboys Full so no matter which you might read first at this point if you read both you hit parts you swore you read somewhere before (because you did). Unlike Cowboys Full which is a later book that discusses the history of poker this book is specifically about the authors experience at the 2000 WSOP at which Chris Ferguson won the main event and during which the trial of Ted Binion's accused killers was taking place just a few short blocks away. The author was a journalist assigned to A) cover the murder trial B) write a story about the best female poker players at that time and C) for extra credit satelite into the main event beating among others two former runners up and then writing a book about.

This is one of the current events but also part history stories I recommend for the non-academic. I think most academic historians might pooh pooh journalistic works like this but I don't. I think it widens societal knowledge by putting it into a vernacular with wider appeal.

Simply put here is a guy that spins a good yarn and easy to read. It also touched on things where even if you usually read fiction you'll find that sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. Especially in Vegas baby.

So another way to separate this from say college thesis paper: it's written to be an interesting story about events and people around the WSOP that is also written to be entertaining. No huge idea behind it all no real moral to the story even just reportage on facts and his experinces in 2000 (as well as the muder of the sone of the founder of WSOP in 1998 that had just gone to trial).

That said I also think it's a useful memoir from an academic standpoint but most PhD types would probably have added many more sources and a much drier third person perspective.

Thus it is more a book for everyone as opposed to a thesis aimed at eggheads such as myself (though technically I am only partly egghead).

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