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TWO AND A HALF MORE MUST READ BOOKS

In my last piece about poker narrative books, I covered two titles that came from the mid-80’s and the early 90’s. Here we leap forward into the ‘oughts. One book that came just before the dawn of the Moneymaker/TV era, and one that describes seeing that dawn and the insane days that followed. And one extra dessert treat just because.

POSITIVELY FIFTH STREET

How can you not love a book whose title is a riff on a Dylan song title? In 2000, Jim McManus set out on an assignment from Harper’s to cover the Las Vegas trial of two people charged with murdering Ted Binion – yes, of the Binion’s Horseshoe family.

It turned out that the trial was going on during the World Series of Poker. And McManus did the most poker-player thing ever – he took his writer’s advance and bought into a satellite to the main event. Won it, and eventually ended up at the final table of the main event. Were it not for some kid named Moneymaker who showed up three years later, McManus’s journeys through the field at Binion’s would certainly go down as the most “You couldn’t script this stuff” story in the history of the WSOP.