The Noble Hustle

  • by Colson Whitehead
  • Narrated by Colson Whitehead
  • 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

“I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.” So begins the hilarious and unexpectedly moving adventures of an amateur player who lucked into a seat at the biggest card game in town - the World Series of Poker.
In 2011 Grantland magazine sent award-winning novelist Colson Whitehead to brave the harrowing, seven-day gauntlet of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It was the assignment of a lifetime, except for one hitch - he'd never played in a casino tournament before.
With just six weeks to train, our humble narrator plunged into the gritty subculture of high-stakes Texas Hold’em. There’s poker here, sure, which means joy and heartbreak, grizzled cowboys from the game’s golden age, and teenage hotshots weaned on internet gambling. Not to mention the overlooked problem of coordinating Atlantic City bus schedules with your kid’s drop-off and pick-up at school.
And then there’s Vegas.
In a world full of long shots and short odds, The Noble Hustle is a sure bet, a raucously funny social satire whose main target is the author himself. Whether you’ve been playing cards your whole life or have never picked up a hand, you’re sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.


What the Critics Say

"Whitehead serves up an engrossing mix of casual yet astute reportage and hang-dog philosophizing, showing us that, for all of poker’s intricate calculations and shrewd stratagems, everything still hangs on the turn of a card."" (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I don't like to pan books, but this is awful

I have listened to hundreds of books. This is the worst narration I have encountered. I had trouble believing the author was the reader. I'm not sure what he was going for but, yikes, he has the strangest cadence. Beyond that, I thought I was going to listen to a story about one fellows adventure in the WSOP. Frankly, most of the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. To say he was divergent is an understatement, Cards on the table, I am about 4 hours into this book (which is most of the way) but I am not going to finish it. Maybe he is edgy and I am just old but, nah, I do not get it. I just wanted to hear the story of his experience in the tourney. I did not get that.
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- Michelle

Sad Funny Book Teaches You About Cards, Ping!

The Slate Culture Gabfest podcast pointed me Whitehead's way alluding to an essay he wrote about New York. Whitehead tells us he's bummed out, (with examples) and I believe him. He's a funny guy, and I liked hearing about his ambitious prep to play in a World Series of Poker Event. When you go on a journey like that, you make some unexpected buds. He does and I really like "Coach." Whitehead especially wins me over with his references to "the kid." He also comes up with an innovative structure (cheating?) to get a book's worth of material out his adventure. I came around to liking his reading of his own work. I recommend!
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- Bill at Torg Stories

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio