Poker Player Biographies

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    The Dark Side of the Felt

    By: Tyler Nals

    Do you see those individuals competing in poker games for millions on TV? That’s not me. My experience involved risking my life every night by participating in illicit poker games across Long Island and Charlotte. This narrative captures my journey of survival, though by a narrow margin.


    Poker Aces

    By: Ron Rose
    Subtitle: The Stars of Tournament Poker

    While there are numerous books on poker strategy and how-to guides, Poker Aces stands out by offering fans an in-depth look at the personal lives and stories of their favorite poker professionals. The book features a collection of fascinating stories and a wealth of photographs, providing readers with a glimpse into the human side of poker and the personalities behind the stoic poker faces they see on television. Poker Aces fills a void in the market by presenting concise, engaging content that satisfies fans’ curiosity about the lives and backgrounds of the poker pros they admire.


    Check-raising the Devil

    By: Mike Matusow

    In his gripping autobiography, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, one of the most recognizable and followed poker players today, takes readers on a wild ride through his tumultuous life, from humble beginnings to the heights of poker stardom. Matusow’s story is a riveting tale of high-stakes gambling, mental illness, drug addiction, and ultimately, redemption, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of professional poker and the personal struggles of a man torn between bipolar disorder and ADHD.


    My 50 Worst Hands

    By: Doyle Brunson

    Sit side-by-side with Doyle Brunson, the greatest poker player in the world, as he works his way through some of his worst-played—or at least ones that didn’t work out—hands in his illustrious 50-year career. This is a unique opportunity to learn from a legend’s worst hands and mistakes, with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, proving that even a two-time world champion makes the wrong moves sometimes. For no-limit hold’em fans, this is a treasure trove of how-to advice from the man who is synonymous with hold’em. Doyle goes through decisive and key hands in his career, talking about the size of the pot, the tournament, the game, the players, and every detail of the situation. He explains why he made the moves he made and what you should learn from his decisions. Every poker player at every level can benefit from Doyle’s wisdom and experience. Doyle brings you into the drama of the moment, making this how-to book as entertaining as it is helpful, especially when combined with its companion book, My 50 Best Hands.


    Geeking, Grifting, and Gambling Through Las Vegas

    By: David Sklansky
    Subtitle: Fifty Years of Exploits, Ideas, and Tell All Stories, From The Noted Poker Author

    A semi-autobiographical work that intertwines engaging stories, often involving well-known and sometimes unpleasant figures, with gambling insights and other advice. It presents a psychological self-portrait of a “math nerd” who, by confronting Las Vegas, overcame mild autism. This narrative is enriched by juicy anecdotes and a unique perspective, all by a writer who navigates through life’s challenges with a blend of mathematics and personal growth.

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    Grandissimo

    By: David G. Schwartz
    Subtitle: The First Emperor of Las Vegas

    David G. Schwartz unveils the untold story of Jay Sarno, the visionary entrepreneur who revolutionized Las Vegas and created the modern casino-resort. This captivating biography delves into Sarno’s life of extremes, from his early days securing funding from Jimmy Hoffa’s Teamsters Union to his legal battles with the federal government, represented by none other than Oscar Goodman. Schwartz also reveals surprising anecdotes, such as Steve Wynn’s unexpected role at Caesars Palace’s opening and how Sarno’s unbuilt masterpiece, Grandissimo, became the blueprint for the Las Vegas mega-resorts of the 1990s. This book offers a fresh perspective on the man who shaped Sin City and the fascinating history behind the glitz and glamour of America’s gambling capital.


    Moorman

    By: Chris Moorman
    Subtitle: The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time

    Building on the success of his first best-selling book, “Moorman’s Book of Poker,” Chris Moorman takes a different approach in his second publication, “Moorman.” In this book, he not only analyzes his own poker hands but also shares the captivating journey of his remarkable achievements. Chris opens up about his early life, his introduction to poker, and chronicles both the peaks and valleys of his career to date. He immerses readers in the realm of poker, where victories can amount to millions of dollars and losses can be even more staggering. By studying the strategic reasoning of the most successful online poker player in history, readers are offered invaluable insights that could significantly elevate their own game. Moreover, the book features contributions from several world-class professional poker players, including Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, and Fedor Holz, who offer their perspectives on Chris’s strategies. This enriches the narrative by providing a multifaceted view of his approach to the game.

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    Moneymaker

    By: Chris Moneymaker
    Subtitle: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned Into Million at the World Series of Poker

    Moneymaker tells the captivating story of a young accountant from Tennessee with a penchant for gambling, who only started playing cards after college. An amateur player who emerged from obscurity, Moneymaker won a $40 online Texas Hold ‘Em game three years later, securing a spot at the 2003 World Series of Poker. By borrowing money to travel to Las Vegas, he participated in his first live tournament and spent four days fighting for a leading position at the final table. This book is packed with tales from his early gambling days to a detailed account of his significant hands at the World Series of Poker, making it an enthralling, fast-paced narrative for anyone who dreams of making it big. Moneymaker’s victory in the 2003 Series demonstrated to both newcomers and seasoned poker professionals that anything is achievable with just a chip and a chair.


    Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People

    By: Amarillo Slim Preston
    Subtitle: The Memoirs of the Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived

    Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People is the memoir of a living American icon, detailing his journey as a Texas road gambler and his exploration of the Wild West. This narrative also captures how Slim triumphed at the World Series of Poker at Binion’s Horseshoe, rose to global fame, and played a pivotal role in bringing poker from the obscurity of smoky backrooms into the spotlight of mainstream America. Experience his story, as told by him.


    No Limit

    By: John L. Smith
    Subtitle: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas' Stratosphere Tower

    No Limit: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower is a biography written by John L. Smith. The book chronicles the life and career of Bob Stupak, a controversial and flamboyant Las Vegas casino owner and entrepreneur. It details Stupak’s rise to prominence in the gambling industry, his ambitious project to build the Stratosphere Tower (the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States), and the eventual financial collapse of the project. The book provides an in-depth look at Stupak’s personal life, his business ventures, and the challenges he faced in the competitive world of Las Vegas casinos.


    The Education of a Modern Poker Player

    By: John Billingham, Thomas Tiroch, Emanuel Cinca

    The Education of a Modern Poker Player is about the journey of John Billingham, as he pursues his ambition of progressing through the stakes, starting from NL10 ($10 game) to NL100 ($100 game) and beyond. This book is the culmination of Billingham’s ingenious plan, documenting his transformation from struggling to beat NL10 to establishing himself at NL100. Throughout this engaging narrative, Thomas Tiroch and Emanuel Cinca share their insights on how to conquer these small stakes games, with Billingham’s support. They illustrate crucial concepts using real-life example hands. The book places particular emphasis on Fast Fold Games, such as Rush and Zoom, where Billingham eventually became a specialist, offering practical explanations on how to exploit weaker players in this format.


    Autobiography of Doyle Brunson

    By: Doyle Brunson

    The Autobiography of Doyle Brunson also known as ‘The Godfather of Poker’ is a captivating memoir by Doyle Brunson himself. This book takes readers on a journey, through his life starting from his origins in Texas and leading to his extraordinary ascent as one of the most accomplished and revered poker players worldwide. It delves into his experiences encompassing relationships, trials, triumphs and paints a vivid picture of his professional career. The pages are filled with gripping anecdotes from high stakes poker games, thrilling tournaments and the evolution of Brunson’s poker strategies. Moreover this book offers insights, into the world of poker throughout its history and introduces readers to influential personalities who have left an indelible mark on the game.


    Swimming with the Devil Fish

    By: Des Wilson
    Subtitle: The Colorful Story of the UK's Number 1 Poker Player

    It chronicles the life of Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott, a renowned and accomplished poker player hailing from the United Kingdom. From his upbringing in a neighborhood, in Hull, England to his remarkable ascent as a professional poker player amassing fame and fortune along the way. It provides a look into his life, including his relationships and family dynamics. Moreover it delves into Ulliotts accomplishments in his career, such as securing a World Series of Poker bracelet and clinching victory in a World Poker Tour event. Additionally this book offers insights, into the thrilling world of high stakes poker shedding light on the personalities, strategic approaches and lavish lifestyles embraced by its players.


    According to Doyle

    By: Doyle Brunson

    In his book, legendary poker champion Doyle Brunson shares fascinating anecdotes and adventures from his early career playing poker in roadhouses and with other great champions, interspersed with important lessons on what it takes to be a successful poker player. Brunson, who has made more money at poker than anyone else in the history of the game, provides insights into the mind of a great player, revealing his approach to the game and offering candid, powerful advice to readers. The book features a foreword by renowned poker authority Mike Caro, who hails Brunson as “the greatest poker player who ever lived.”


    I’m All In

    By: Lyle Berman
    Subtitle: High Stakes, Big Business, and the Birth of the World Poker Tour

    Lyle Berman, a unique blend of high-stakes poker maverick and entrepreneurial tycoon, shares his incredible life story in I’m All In, a thrilling journey through the exhilarating and often treacherous worlds of high-stakes gambling and business. As a driving force behind the poker phenomenon that has captivated America and the world, Berman offers an unprecedented look into the creation and early challenges of the World Poker Tour, permanently changing the face of poker. Through colorful anecdotes and hard-earned wisdom, Berman illuminates his life, the game of poker, and the national phenomenon it has become, making I’m All In a must-read story that only he can tell.


    Titanic Thompson

    By: Kevin Cook
    Subtitle: The Man Who Bet on Everything

    This lively biography encapsulates the essence of a carefree era, painting a vivid picture of the risk-taking hero who was the inspiration behind Guys and Dolls. Alvin “Titanic” Thompson (1892-1974), born in an Ozark log cabin, journeyed with his golf clubs, a .45 revolver, and a suitcase full of cash. He gambled millions on cards, dice, golf, pool, and his own perilous games. He was married five times, each time to a teenage bride, and was responsible for the deaths of five men. Thompson was the kingpin of New York’s underground craps games in the 1920s and was the real-life counterpart of Damon Runyon’s smooth-talking Sky Masterson. He was a dominant figure in golf before the PGA Tour era, playing alongside greats like Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, and Ray Floyd. Thompson also fooled Al Capone with card tricks, lost a million to Minnesota Fats before teaming up with him to win it all back, and may have been the best golfer of his time. Titanic Thompson is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a wager, bringing to life the vibrant era of a unique character: America’s first road gambler.


    The Education of a Poker Player

    By: James McManus

    James McManus, a New York Times-bestselling author, has crafted a collection of seven autobiographical stories. Persuaded by his grandmother at eight years old that priesthood would ensure his family’s salvation, Vince eagerly enrolls in a Jesuit seminary for high school. However, as he begins to understand the implications of a celibacy vow and faces the allure of poker and girls, his enthusiasm for seminary life wanes. These stories offer a humorous and insightful look into Catholicism, faith, celibacy, and the world’s favorite card game, poker. McManus, often referred to as “poker’s Shakespeare,” is also the author of Positively Fifth Street and Cowboys Full, among others. He has received numerous awards and currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


    Poker Tilt

    By: Dutch Boyd, Laurence Samuels

    Dutch Boyd, a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet champion, has experienced the thrill of winning millions and the despair of losing them. Discover his incredible journey as a professional poker player, navigating the exhilarating highs and devastating lows, while battling to maintain his finances and mental health.


    The Godfather of Poker

    By: Doyle Brunson
    Subtitle: The Doyle Brunson Story

    The thrilling real-life journey of Doyle Brunson, an American icon, is a tale of survival, courage, and triumph. Brunson, a two-time world champion poker player, has faced death, navigated the dangerous streets of Fort Worth and mob-infested Las Vegas, and risked millions on everything from poker to golf. His life is marked by incredible highs and lows, from surviving a death sentence due to incurable cancer, to outliving most of his poker-playing peers in Texas, to bluffing a gunman after being pistol-whipped. Despite numerous financial ups and downs, Brunson has won and lost millions, often in mere seconds. He’s even gambled on the grandest scale, betting one million dollars on a single golf hole while barely able to stand. His life, filled with extraordinary exploits and devastating tragedies, is a testament to the saying: Truth is stranger than fiction. To the millions who play poker worldwide, Brunson is the legendary “Babe Ruth of Poker”—the greatest gambler and poker player to ever live.


    Life’s a Gamble

    By: Mike Sexton

    Mike Sexton has led an impressive career in poker, both as a professional player and a key figure in the game’s business aspects, for over four decades. He has not only won a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet but also played a crucial role in the creation of PartyPoker in 2001 and the launch of the World Poker Tour (WPT) in 2002, an event that significantly impacted the poker world. Since the beginning of the WPT, he has served as a commentator alongside Vince Van Patten. In his book, Mike shares his personal stories and insights into some of the most iconic characters in poker over the last 40 years. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the evolution of poker, as well as those who enjoy thrilling stories of poker, golf, and gambling. If these topics capture your interest, you will find “Life’s A Gamble” to be a captivating read.


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