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The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King

Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time

Michael Craig

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Strengths: Highly entertaining. Topic is rarely publicized.
Weaknesses: Book is sometimes difficult to follow.
Year: 2005
Page Count: 288

Reviewed by Ozone on Aug. 2, 2005.

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This is a book that details the ultra-high-stakes heads-up hold'em matches between a wealthy Texas banker named Andy Beal and the best players the poker world has to offer. On and off for three years, Beal played a group of pros at stakes that ranged from $10k-20k all the way up to the biggest game ever spread, $100k-200k. The pros were organized by Doyle Brunson, and included Howard Lederer, Jennifer Harman, Chip Reese, Todd Brunson, Ted Forrest, Barry Greenstein, as well as several others.

Poker Advice

This book was not written to advise its readers on poker strategy. Yet, without meaning to, it does have some value as how one should approach heads-up limit hold'em. Beal wanted to play the best players in the world at stakes even they could not afford (unless they formed a team and pooled together their bankrolls to play him, which is preceisly what they did). Beal made several trips between the Bellagio in Las Vegas and his home in Dallas. This book details the events of these trips and is an absolute thrill to read.


The timeline of the book is a little weird. The author, Michael Craig, skips around erratically throughout the book. This forces the reader to stay on his toes, because it would be easy to overlook a key detail such as the passage of several months. Aside from this, the book is very enjoyable and is highly recommended for anyone curious about the world of high-stakes poker. Michael Craig did a very fine job digging up all of the research needed to write this book. Unlike high-stakes tournaments (most of which are televised for the world to see), high-stakes cash games have no records the public can access. Thus, this book is a rare glimpse into what goes on in the biggest game of all time.


The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King can be purchased at Amazon

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