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The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time
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The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,638 ratings  ·  77 reviews
- One of the author's sources for this book is a member of the illustrious and mysterious "Corporation" of top-10 poker players who pool their money to play for millions--revealing for the first time the secrets of their games, strategies, and partnership. - Books about gambling sell extremely well, as evidenced by the success of Bringing Down the House (Free Press, 2002), ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 5th 2006 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2005)
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3.83  · 
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 ·  1,638 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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3.5 stars. For anyone who is a fan of poker and enjoys playing or watching it, this is an entertaining read. As the description of the book indicates, it is the story of how a billionaire "banker" named Andy Beal took on a group of the best high stakes poker players in the world (who combined their bankrolls into a group called the "The Corporation") for the highest stakes ever played. Being a big poker fan, I thought it was a very interesting read.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
'The next best thing to gambling and winning is gambling and losing. The main thing is to gamble.'
Huié Hólos
For any poker enthusiast.

If you're the kind of person who watched all episodes of high-stakes poker, loves reading news about whether or not X player is broke, or reads about the legendary nosebleeds game that we only hear rumors about and are not even sure if they're real, then I'd be willing to lay 10:1 odds that you'll at the very least enjoy this book.

However, for the Average reader the poker content might come off as repetitive and unengaging, but the book still offers a great and detailed
Martin Moleski
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good read with which to end my sabbatical.

The author handles introduction of a huge cast of characters very well. He explains the nature of the game of high stakes limit Hold 'em without getting too technical, and he seems to be scrupulously fair to all involved "inside the richest poker game of all time" (up to 2005, of course).

If I had time and money, I'd be a gambling addict. I've played hundreds of games on a poker simulator. It's interesting to see what the life of a professional gambler
Kevin G.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Super interesting book from the start to the end, I read it all the way through in less than 24 hours. The book focuses on a group of Poker pros who teamed up to play a series of super high stakes poker against a billionaire banker. The book tells the amazing battles between the high stakes pros and the amateur banker, but it also focuses on the background of every one of the persons involved, which are by no means less interesting than the main story itself. The book is an amazing read that wil ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It's a tale about some very interesting people, and it's told well.

Knowing nothing about poker, I was surprised by the characterization that the professionals never bothered to truly learn the probabilities associated with certain hands. I was also surprised that Beal was apparently unique in trying to add, via his random number generation, some elements of game theory.

my favorite quote: "Elite poker players are drawn from a pool of gamblers, not problem solvers or people re
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Interesting story about an investment banker who got out of the market before it tanked and decided to see how he could do at poker against the best professionals.
He put lots of time into his game to the point that he held his own at the highest stakes game ever played. The stakes were so high that the professionals he was playing were nervous about the money. Any successful professional player is able to separate their decisions from the money, so to get that to happen is crazy.
At the time at l
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Supremely entertaining story of how a banker with tons of money developed his poker game enough over the course of a few years to match some of the top professionals of the time. Be cautious about taking any life lessons from these skilled characters -- not everyone possesses their risk taking capabilities or the grit to keep coming back from massive losses. Read it like a fun story, and you won't be disappointed.
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poker
The quote on the front of this book says, "A thrilling portal into a culture the rest of us can scarcely imagine." That is one of the most accurate descriptions of a book I have ever read. Life as a gambler is a such a weird and lonely existence. The focus of this book is the big games vs. Andy Beal between 2001-2004. But in telling that story, we get a glimpse into the rest of the lives of these poker players and the Vegas poker scene pre-boom in general.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Quick read (a few hours), telling of a billionaire's quest to beat the top Vegas pros. In-depth. Read like a poker TV show. Quite entertaining, but no long term "redeeming" value, just pure entertainment.
Bill Clarkin
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very good. Liked the insight into how the poker players got to this lifestyle. New respect for Greenstein and his charitable efforts. Would have liked a bit more into the specific hands and the thought process around these. Probably couldn't get access.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd actually give this book 3.5 stars if I could as it's definitely a fun, enjoyable and quick read, but only if you're a poker fan. I think a background in the game and some of the players is necessary to really enjoy this book.

Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Quick little book to read. More about the psychology of being elite than the nitty gritty of poker, although the background stories about ultra-high-stakes poker are interesting. Thanks to my father in law for the gift.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Written in 2005 the book gives you a real insight into the world of high-stakes professional poker. It is quite a compelling read. With some truly unique characters and personalitie.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A fun read. The only downside with this book is that it doesn't cover the one story I was most interested in when Andy last returned to Vegas after this book was published..
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book about Andy Beal and the poker games he played in Las Vegas.
Mark Defusco
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed reading about the big game and the interactions of the poker players that I was watching on TV when this game was going down.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that not only aligned with my interests, but was very well written, and had a number of great insights into the minds of great poker players and gamblers. Some interesting things I learned:

-> Casinos make very little money from their poker operations. Prior to the poker boom in 2003, most casinos were shutting down their poker rooms. Casinos also rarely make requests to accommodate poker players and don't have heads up poker because it's dealer-intensive
-> Elite poker players are d
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very fun and interesting read. If you don't follow professional poker, it might be hard to keep all the players straight. But easy to read and fun to learn about the proliferation of poker in the US.
Conrad Mason
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting inside view into the biggest poker cash games ever played. A rich banker took on a group of the best players in the world. Amazing how fearless they are when they have swings for millions of dollars!
Scott Wilson
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poker
I love it. Certainly helps if you are interested in poker.
Tyler Jones
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poker
Narrative non-fiction only really satisfies when it takes a reader on journey, and Andy Beal's adventures in poker wonderland are, well, repetitive. After a while the reader wonders what the point is. The story just does not have much of an arch to it - it just peters out, which of course isn't the author's fault, but still...It would have made a better chapter in a larger poker history book than a book all of its own. Of course if you are crazy about all things poker, like I am, you will probab ...more
Dec 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Casual and serious poker players, and their significant others.
Shelves: poker, nonfiction
Before there was professional poker on network television, before the poker pros were nearly household names, and before the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker exploded into American pop culture, there were cash games. Now in the late ‘90s the names were the same ones you know now and the games were similar, but poker in the larger sense was different. The days of chasing scary illegal games wasn’t that long ago, and poker was struggling to survive, even in Las Vegas casinos. Many pros t ...more
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cool peek behind the curtain. These folks are all total messes.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Poker exploded into the national consciousness a few years ago, and as its popularity has grown, stories that in prior years might have gone unpublished have made themselves known. This book traces one such true story – the story of the richest poker game ever played. Andy Beal is a self-made billionaire owner of a private bank who became transfixed on the idea that he could beat poker pros at their own game. Considering that everything he’d ever put his mind to had been accomplished, this seeme ...more
Sep 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 52-in-2010
The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King (pp. 288)

Michael Craig chronicles the history of the highest stakes poker game ever played. Millionaire businessman and banker, Andy Beal sinks his teeth into his new obsession, poker. Like many men in his stratosphere, he’s looking for a challenge and lofty goal to measure his ability and learning. The Bellagio, Las Vegas is home to one of the largest regular cash games in poker with some of the most famous poker players ever. Doyle Brunson, Chip
Tim O'Hearn
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 52-books-in-2016
This is a good book. The explanation of the history of the game and breakdown of rules and situations added to the flow and accessibility of the book and thus my enjoyment of it. Character development, especially considering how many players appeared in just several-hundred pages, was exceptional.

The first flaw is that the book suffers from bouts of redundancy. Some interesting anecdotes are repeated without much more context except the passage of time. This happened on about five occasions. Th
Gina Herald
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Could have really gone into the psychology, motives, tactics, of the various players etc. Had the potential to really bring out the ambitious, fearless, as well as enchanting and elusive aspects of the high stakes poker world as an intriguing narrative. Rather, it was more or less a play by play. There were some insights but they were few and far between. Most of it wasn't anything you couldn't glean watching recorded games for most of the players, or reading the best handbooks on strategy. Ther ...more
Dec 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This is an account of the biggest poker game ever played. Basically this really really rich Texas banker billionaire guy wanted to see if he could beat the best pro poker players in the world by making the stakes so high that it would throw even them off. By the end of the book they were playing $100,000/$200,000 no-limit hold ‘em and it was all heads-up. At that point people would say things like “he basically broke even; he only lost $500,000” because at those stakes $500K is nothing. I knew t ...more
Apr 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent story, pretty interesting how this billionaire just got bored and decided to become one of the best poker players in the world just by challenging the established best players. I didn't think I would, but I ended up rooting for the banker b/c of some of the tactics and manipulation that the pros used once they realized he could actually play at their level. Although some of the pros wanted to, most of them wouldn't just sit down and play at his stakes because they were really scared of lo ...more
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