The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King

Published By: Grand Central Publishing

Book Category: Non-Fiction,

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Reviewed by Bob Pike, CSP, CPAE Speakers Hall of Fam
Chairman/CEO - The Bob Pike Group, Founder/Editor of The CTT Newsletter

If you're one of millions who have become intrigued with Texas Hold 'Em, then this book is for you! Michael Craig takes us behind the scenes of a series of cash Texas Hold 'Em games that make the tournaments you see on TV pale by comparison. Imagine betting $100,000 and $200,000 per hand—and it's your money!

The professor, Howard Lederer, gave up a computer science major in 1985 when as a freshman he won $100,000 playing poker. The banker is Andy Beal, a self-made billionaire who earned $50 million plus per year from his various enterprises, including Beal Bank of Dallas. And the suicide king is the king of hearts. Poker players know that the king of hearts holds his own sword at his head, thus the name "suicide king."

A dozen times over four years (from 2001 to 2004), Beal would go to Las Vegas to play heads-up poker at table one at the Bellagio. He'd play against a syndicate of the world's best poker players, including Doyle Brunson, Jennifer Harmon, Chip Reese, and Howard Lederer. (Heads-up poker means that rather than up to nine players at a table, there would be only two—playing each other "heads-up"). Millions would change hands in each game—until over $20 million was on the table during the final game in May of 2004.

The stakes were so high that "flags" (red, white and blue edged chips worth $5,000) were not used. In Las Vegas $5,000 chips are rarely seen, yet the Bellagio has rarer-still $25,000 chips. And even the Bellagio wasn't prepared for a high stakes game of this magnitude. The Bellagio ran out of $25,000 chips to be used in the game!

As Craig describes the action you get a behind the scenes look at the preparation both sides made—and a history of Texas Hold 'Em that few have ever seen. You learn how the top professional poker players, made famous by the televised tournaments, came to the game and gained their poker education, you learn about the legends who kept the game alive until television discovered it. The action is fast, the descriptions vivid, the analysis revealing. This book is a real life page turner!

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