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All In

This article is more than 13 years old.

All In: The (Almost) Entirely True Story of The World Series of Poker is not for everyone. On the other hand — get it? hand? heh, heh — ah, well - it may be just the book for you if the revelation of various poker hands, one card at a time, sets your heart to thumping.

Actually, that characterization of the book is not entirely fair. All In is driven less by the chronological account of each World Series of Poker than it is by the stories of some of the people who've competed in the event. My impression was that a considerable number of the winners were exceptionally self-destructive, and when co-author Jonathan Grotenstein and I discussed that impression, he agreed that great poker players are likely to live on the edge. When the edge involves heavy cocaine use and alcoholism, self-destruction is a good bet. (Get it? good bet? Poker?...heh, heh.)

Two thirds of the way through All In, the authors say of Binion's Horseshoe, the venue for the World Series of Poker until death, family squabbles, and taxes had their way with it, that "poker players from around the world traveled thousands of miles to visit it, but once they arrived they were usually disappointed." I have to say disappointment is likely to drop like a busted flush on readers of All In, too, unless they find reading about poker as intriguing as playing it.

This program aired on December 3, 2005. The audio for this program is not available.

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