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

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
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Oct 02, 08

bookshelves: public-library, non-fiction
Recommended for: poker players and enthusiasts
Read in July, 2004, read count: 1

There can be no finer book to pick up in the middle of the TV coverage of Binion's WSOP. McManus's tales of how he parlayed his 4G advance from Harper's first to a seat at the WSOP Big Game and then made it all the way to the final table all with the backdrop of the heroin laced/circus sex Ted Binion murder trial. It makes for a compelling read. But it's McManus's literary flourishes, his background as a Catholic altar boy that inform his decision making on so many levels, his references to Dante, Joyce and other literary greats, his reliance on book knowledge from Doyle Brunson, T.J. Cloutier and other poker giants and his ultimate devotion to his family turn what would otherwise be an interesting piece of nonfiction into brilliant literature.

The WSOP is back on ESPN tonight and every Tuesday night at 6PST (check your local listings). The first few weeks of the programming shows the many ganes that lead up the WSOP "Big Game", what, in fact, makes the series a series. It's not as compelling because the stakes are lower and the games can be slightly different variations of poker (i.e. not necessarily Texas Hold 'em), but who cares? It's still great poker action. I know where I'll be at 6pm. Ass firmly glued to the couch with eyes similarly glued to the telly.
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