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Fast Company by Jon Bradshaw
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Nov 21, 10

bookshelves: poker
Read in November, 2010

An undiscovered gem of a non-fiction book. Six portrayals of great gamblers (and no, it's not a contradiction): Bobby Riggs (tennis), Johnny Moss (poker), Puggy Pearson (poker), Titanic Thompson (everything), Minnesota Fats (pool, of course), and Tim Holland (golf and backgammon). The six chapters are like perfect New Yorker profiles: colorful, interesting, and insightful. And beautifully written. Of Holland, he writes, "There was about him an entrepreneurial air, the arrogance air of a man who controlled some dark and mysterious enterprise."

And he finds something of value in these men who added little value to the world (since gambling is the ultimate zero-sum game): their ability to turn the odds in their favor, usually by psychology, often by greater knowledge, and sometimes by stacking the figurative deck. It's a compelling book.
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