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While the details of the Binion family lifestyle, Ted in particular, did hook me in, it was the considerable detail that portrayed the chaotic mindset of a poker player that kept me interested throughout the entire book.
As one wears their 'poker face' at the table, it's rather difficult to read what's beyond the mask of your fellow competitors. Are they actually that calm and collected? Or are they scrambling for any available sanity while confronting the decision of calling (or re-raising) a $160,000 bet?
McManus vividly describes the mindset and thought process as a poker player at the tables--something you definitely cannot see by watching the WSOP on television or video. Whether it's the continual switching of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide or calculating pot odds, the book does have a lot to offer. A definite recommendation to an amateur/aspiring poker player. There's even some detail about the strip clubs!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
The opening minutes took my breath away. Expecting to hear about the ins and outs of poker I was "treated" to a moment by moment retelling of a grizzly murder. I was repulsed but intrigued. Did I have the right book? By the time he revealed what was going on, McManus had me hooked. He was "playing" me, just like a poker player, luring me in for bigger and bigger stakes. "Positively Fifth Street" is about poker, but poker as a morality play. "Good Jim" and "Bad Jim" don't so much wrestle for control of the author's "soul" as they tease, entice, and pursuade with the book's opening horro set against the lure of that ultimate stack of cash - and a bracelet.
McManus' prose is superb and listening to the book provided a distinct pleasure that reading wouldn't have afforded. McManus draws the listener to the table with his voice, sometimes reading in a tone that sounds like a stone-cold gaze, sometimes softening, letting you feel the anguish and ecstacy of his experience. I was sitting right at the table with him and there were times when I found myself holding my breath, waiting for next card to fall.
I had no idea what to expect when I started "Positively Fifth Street," in fact, I just sat down to listen for a few minutes but in the end I had to play the whole game out. 3 1/2 hours after it started the story ended, and I could breathe again.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful