The Return of Books in Poker?

Two new offerings that people may actually want to read

by , Apr 6, 2009 | 2:17 pm

Once upon a time, poker books were everywhere and everything. Then we found that saturation point, right around the time the poker boom was coming to an end … and it became harder and harder to really care about the latest poker tome … poker books stopped selling, the bookstores took down their dedicated poker racks, and uber-poker geeks like yours truly built up a pile of literature still collecting dust while waiting to be read. I swear I’ll move beyond page 26 of Bill Chen’s The Mathematics of Poker one of these days!

But probably not before reading two books that we can expect later this year: Lost Vegas, by Dr. Pauly … and Check-Raising the Devil, by Mike Matusow (with Tim Lavalli and Amy Calistri). Lost Vegas will be based on much of what we’ve been reading over the years on Tao of Poker, though I personally know the book is what Pauly’s been saving his best, so-far untold stuff for … so I’m confident every poker-industry douche insider will be eager to read what he’s been holding back.

Likewise, Matusow’s tale promises to be the kind of interesting auto-bio that even my grandmother could enjoy — lots of sex, drugs, and crime that just so happens to be set in the world of high-stakes casino gambling and/or prison — by a guy who has seen up-close-and-personal the good, the bad, and the really bad side of it all. Judging both these books by their recently completed covers (click to enlarge), I gotta think there might be something to these pokery stories, even though neither promise to tell you anything about how to play Ace-King.

13 Comments to “The Return of Books in Poker? ”

  1. Poker Shrink

    Just FYI. later this year for Check-Raising the Devil means May 12th.

  2. DanM

    Awesome. That will be just in time for Grandma’s birthday (June 13). If I can get a signed copy (even by you!), she will think it’s extra special.

  3. Poker Shrink

    Grannie can have all three signatures, there won’t be too many of those floating around.

  4. Pauly

    Thanks for the plug. I owe you a free taco.

  5. DanM

    Cool. Do you have my mailing address?

  6. BJ Nemeth

    I haven’t read many poker books (less than you’d think), but I’ll be reading both of these. Sure, I’m friends with all the authors, but that’s not why I’ll be reading.

    Before Amy & Time ever started writing Matusow’s biography, I said that he was the only top player with a story worth reading about — his life is the only one in poker with three acts, as far as I’m concerned. (Take that, F. Scott Fitzgerald!) Put that in the hands of Amy and Tim, and I think you have a winner.

    I have never talked to Pauly about the contents of his book, but I expect it to be a slight reworking of the best material from his blog mixed in with plenty of new stuff he’s never written about before. Will he pull the curtain back on the poker industry even further than he does in his blog? I won’t know until I read it …

    Of the two, I think Pauly’s has a better shot at non-poker fans (poker is the setting more often than the topic), while the Matusow book might sell better solely because he’s one of the most famous players in our game.

    I find it curious that Matusow’s name isn’t bigger on his cover, since he is the selling point. I’m also somewhat surprised that Pauly’s cover lists him as “Paul McGuire,” a name that many of his fans won’t even recognize. No mention of “Dr. Pauly” or “Tao of Poker”? That might be a mistake. (I’m sure the back cover includes that info, but that’s another step a potential reader has to take.) I can say the name “Paul McGuire” to people in the poker industry who have met Pauly in person and they won’t know who I’m talking about.

    One of the things that sucks about being a writer is all your friends and family say they want to support you, but then ask for a free copy of your book. I’ll happily pay full price for both books so the authors get the royalties they deserve for their hard work and talent. (Buying direct from the authors, if possible, to cut out the middlemen.)

  7. DanM

    you definitely gotta pay. it’s like seeing a friend’s band … unless you are in the actual entourage and carrying equipment, ponying up the cover charge is a way of showing support.

    with that said, i plan to annoy pauly just for fun by putting up an email link for all pokerati readers to send him a request for a free copy.

  8. DanM

    I just noticed the 666 on the flop. Nice touch!

  9. Poker Shrink

    666 on the flop;
    jail cell
    babe in smoke
    mike’s pills
    flames in the devil’s chair
    the tossed big slick
    and the card cover is a Matusow chip with his picture

  10. DanM

    crap, tossed big slick … there goes the premise of my last line in this post.

  11. Amy C

    Thanks for the shout out. Btw, I’m totally mad for Pauly’s book cover. And I think free books in exchange for drinks at the hooker bar could easily be arranged…

  12. peempee

    Just FWIW, he’ll be signing books during the WSOP.

  13. Johnny Hughes

    All you friends should go to this book on Amazon and vote for the tags already there to boost the tag count. Get it high on the poker, poker books list. With Matusow, the pretigeous authors could get a discussion going, have a blast with tags, and learn the joy and agony of the ratings system, which changes every thirty minutes.

    Lost Vegas by Paul McGuire is going to be more a social commentary, comedy, stylist piece of lasting art for everyone, not just poker players.