Positively Fifth Street
Reviewed by TwoGun and Ozone on Feb. 10, 2005.
In the Spring of 2000, Harper's magazine sent writer James McManus to Las Vegas to cover the progress of women in the World Series of Poker, as well as the murder of the tournament's late host, Ted Binion. When McManus arrives in Vegas, the lure of the tables compel him to risk most of his Harper's article advance by playing in a $1,000 single table satellite to the main event of the WSOP. After winning the satellite, McManus rides a roller coaster to a 5th place finish in the 2000 WSOP. Alternating chapters on the murder of Ted Binion and his ride through the WSOP, McManus has penned a masterpiece in the poker classic, Positively Fifth Street.
McManus's advice comes straight from the TJ Cloutier school of No-Limit tournaments. He credits Cloutier for teaching him how to play good poker, so it is quite ironic when the two meet at the final table. Preaching tight tournament poker, McManus's words are very helpful to the reader's tournament game. This book does a great job of giving a glimpse into what it takes to play a high-stakes No-Limit Hold'em tournament. Although Positively Fifth Street's intentions are not to help the reader become a better poker player, it indirectly does just that.
This book is half poker book, half murder mystery. Each chapter, the topic changes. So when the reader is about to get to the thrilling conclusion of a hand McManus participated in during the WSOP, a new chapter begins picking up where we left off in the Ted Binion story. It is a very effective format for making the book difficult to put down. Positively Fifth Street is a true gem in the world of poker books.