Posts Tagged ‘Jim-McManus’

Revising Poker History

by , Apr 2, 2010 | 5:21 pm

Check it out … Pokerati gold-star commenter Johnny Hughes has a great story in Bluff Europe: When the Most Famous Gambler in the World was a Shill.

In it, he directly challenges Michael Craig and Jim McManus for their takes on legendary gambler Nick the Greek Dandolos, and much of the Chicago-Tex-Vegas history between him, Johnny Moss, and Benny Binion.

I have no idea who’s right … it’s all just old-school mob-time poker to me. My take on Johnny is that he’s a solid writer with proper respect for good storytelling, the game of poker, and historical narrative. He also can end up sometimes way off in left field, like any good Texas senior should.

I actually re-read the story upon noticing the publish date of April 1. But then, after re-re-reading, I found myself second-guessing my second-guessing, which i guess is the whole point of the piece.

Spreading the Poker Word

by , Dec 8, 2009 | 11:23 am

While Jim McManus is preaching All-American poker goodness to the presumably liberal academic NPR set, Rich Muny (aka @TheEngineer2008) has taken it upon himself to address non-poker conservatives.

His latest missive on is a good one that puts online poker restrictions in the context of the 18th Amendment. And while yeah-yeah, we all know (most of) this stuff already, check out the 87 (!) comments to see how this key audience is grappling with the notion of creating a bureaucracy in the name of less government intrusion.

McManus Poker Book Makes NYT’s List of 2009 Notables

by , Dec 6, 2009 | 12:28 am

Check it out … the New York Times Book Review, as part of a holiday gift guide, have put out their 100 Notable Books of 2009 … and making the list is Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker by Jim McManus.

Of those 100, 55 are non-fiction. Cowboys Full sits between ‘A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent’ by Robert Merry, and ‘Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression’ by Morris Dickstein. Granted, the list is alphabetical, but still …

Take a look at the excerpt the NYT ran last month — titled “Pokertician“. Considering all the good recent press poker has gotten from the likes of the Times, the Wall Street Journal, the National Journal, NPR, et al, you can see how McManus’ book — and his or his publisher’s attached promotional efforts, of course — has done more in 2009 to spread contemporary poker ideology to America’s liberal elitist intellectual set than any press release from PokerStars ever could.

(No offense, Matt, just sayin’ …)

Of course the NYT’s review of McManus’ book is hedlined the (“The Cheating Game“) … so maybe that’s a reminder that despite efforts that may seem to legitimize poker pursuits, the game still will always be thought of as … similar to dieting and matrimony? If so, that might explain why this tome — currently ranked in the Top 500 on Amazon — has apparently struck a chord with at least a few people who aren’t otherwise thinking ’bout poker.

You really should buy Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker by Jim McManus. No one’s paying us to say that, but Pokerati will earn at least $0.14 if you do.

Obama as Poker Player Cover Story in the National Journal

by , Dec 5, 2009 | 3:17 pm

The first thing that caught my eye when I saw the cover of the new issue of National Journal was the hand: Obama already has Jacks-or-better, but could also be drawing to an inside straight. Great artistic display of poker metaphor … and I can’t believe, after more than six years since Moneymaker, someone has finally posed a hand as something other than a royal flush. That in and of itself tells me the story’s gonna be good … as the editor clearly understands a little something about politics and poker.

Once and future NJ subscribers can click here:

COVER STORY: High Stakes
by Will Englund / Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009

Or click below to read (the full text from) an email that has been floated through the poker-political ether:


Jim McManus + Darvin Moon on NPR

Historical perspectives

by , Nov 14, 2009 | 1:30 pm

Jim McManus appeared on All Things Considered the morning the November Nine was getting underway, to offer a little cultural (and presidential) history of the game, based on his new book, Cowboys Full.

Not to be a spoiler, but the closing line features a sound clip from Darvin Moon, with weekend host Guy Raz saying, “That is Darvin Moon, and he’s about as far away as you can get from poker royalty.” That is a funnier line than Raz even realizes, considering Moon’s resistance to all things sponsorship.

Raz does a follow-up the next day, just on Darvin Moon:

For more academic intellect surrounding Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, check out our favorite new older-than-25 Betfair blogger Shamus’ interview with McManus here.

And for a little low-brow historical perspective on McManus from a pre-Darvin Moon era, here’s my interview with the author of Positively Fifth Street from 2004.

(Yikes, 2004!?!)

Dreamy Team Poker

by , Jun 20, 2009 | 1:52 pm

One cool adjustment to this year’s WSOP is that the media tourney will be played Dream Team Poker-style. I think it was a pretty brilliant move. Because even though way back in the day playing in the media event — with Cousin Sal at my table and Jim McManus in the same tourney — was the highlight of my 2004 … over time it’s gotten a little less important to me to spend a WSOP off-day playing in a turbo live event with only a feel-good charity donation on the line. In fact, I’ve missed the last two, because you know, whatever …

But this year, I’ll definitely be back, captaining the Pokerati Hotties:

California Jen
Kevin Mathers

Mathers apparently won’t be able to make it, so playing in his stead will be alternate Robert Goldfarb.

As anyone who has participated in a team poker event has discovered, these things are extra fun. And, frankly, I’m looking forward to accumulating jerseys. You already know about Team Tao of Pokerati — Pauly, Shaniac, and myself … and indeed, we’ll be playing in the real-money event on July 12 (and hopefully July 13). Not only do we want to redeem ourselves, but we figured since DTP took the boldly progressive move of sponsoring our little podcast, the least we could do is buy into their big event.

If you want to play in this $500+60 x3, Team Wicked Chops is hosting an online freeroll (June 25) for a seat on their squad. Tao of Pokerati woulda offered something similar, of course … but we don’t know you, so we couldn’t really take that chance.

Obama’s Poker Style

by , Nov 2, 2008 | 2:26 am

I really don’t mean to make it all about politics — yeow, Venetian Deep Stacks just got underway! — but tonight’s poker-politics entertainment overlap had me doing a little searching for “obama poker”. I was just looking for one link, actually, but found four pretty good ones. I know this election isn’t all about poker … but since, as players, we can tell a lot about a person based on their presence at the table … here are some reports from and about Barack Obama at the felt:

Aces, by Jim McManus, in the New Yorker

The Associated Press, breaking down his betting style

The Dice Player vs. The Poker Player (YouTube)

Is Playing Poker Enough to Lead the World? (YouTube)

Poker on (Lifetime?) TV

by , Oct 20, 2008 | 12:21 am

I never thought I’d say this … but you might want to set your Tivo for Lifetime, on October 25.

Sex and Lies in Sin City: The Ted Binion Scandal
(starring Matthew Modine, Mena Suvari, and Marcia Gay Harden)

[Annoying autoplay video removed]

Not sure what Jim McManus thinks of this (lady-friendly) television adaptation of the story of Ted Binion, Becky Behnen, Sandy Murphy, and Rick Tabish. But it’s the drama-filled tale of Texas gamblers, Vegas strippers, mobs, murder, and so much money … and the one that in some ways surrounded the birth of the WSOP. Perfect television for 31-45-year-old women, no?

(Way) Outside the WSOP – (Main Event Day 6)

by , Jul 13, 2008 | 5:37 am

Play ended on an explosive note last night as Phil Hellmuth’s antics earned him a 1 orbit penalty for his prolonged verbal attack on Cristian Dragomir on the last hand of play. 79 players return at 12 today to play down to the final 27, however long that takes. There’s still two women in the field (Tiffany Michelle 5th with 3,438,000 and Lisa Parsons 73rd with 581,000). The leader is Mark Ketteringham, with 5.8m in chips,Andrew Brokos in 2nd with about 4.08m, and Nikolay Losev in 3rd with 4.06m. Notable names remaining include David Benefield, Brandon Cantu, Kido Pham, David “Chino” Rheem, Mike Matusow, Hellmuth, Victor Ramdin, Matt Matros, Keith
“The Camel” Hawkins
, Alex Outhred, and Thomas Keller. To see everyone’s situation in terms of chips and where they sit, head to page 2:



by , Jun 20, 2007 | 11:10 am

LAS VEGAS–Good morning. I’m just getting ready to go to bed. The sun’s been up for just a few hours, and it’s already over 100 degrees. But inside the Rio … about negative 64. So friggin’ cold, especially in the cash-games area, from whence I just came. They cool down the Amazon Room and surrounding hallways overnight in preparation for the onslaught of warm poker bodies that arrive each day a little before noon … and/or to sell more WSOP sweatshirts.

Anyhow, late last night, Pauly was up bouncing around the Amazon Room in his off-time and Otis had just re-arrived back in town. I had work to do, of course, but the three of us had yet to find time to geek out all pokerbloggy since arriving at the 2007 WSOP, so it was time to make time … and off to the Hooker bar we went. Inspiring and refreshing, to say the least, as we traded poker-blog war stories, tales of SEO, and reminisces about the “good ole days” of 2006.

We must have been appearing to have too much fun, because a few drinks into it all, we were joined by a traveling WSOP circuit dealer, Brian “the Rookie” Wilson, Otis’ friend Mark, and Jim McManus, who was a little down on his game.

“I make way more from writing these days than I do playing poker, that’s for sure,” he said. Funny how just a year ago this exact same sentence might have a completely different meaning.

As the night whittled on, Pauly left us to go whip up a poignant recap of yesterday’s crazy yet meaningful action, as Otis, Mark and I returned to the Amazon Room to play poker. You can always count on a few drunks to sit down at the dwindling WSOP cash tables at about 4 in the morning to keep the chips flying, and last night that was us. Not surprisingly, the three of us would rebuy several times playing $2/$5 NLH, and within a couple hours, collectively we were stuck nearly $2,500, at which point I switched to coffee.

Linda the Dallas dealer had my table for a while — it was great to see her for the first time of the Series. “Just like back home,” she said, smirking as she shipped a pot I lost to the other end of the table.

Mark would end up busting out for a final time, while Otis and I stuck around to grind our way back towards even. I was getting there, too, until I flopped an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. The turn gave me the nut straight and a straight-flush draw. I was bummed when my opponent and I couldn’t get it all-in at that point, but I guess I was lucky, because while I caught my flush on the river, the other guy caught quads, and I was not in a position to raise his bet. Don’t even get me started about the possible collusion we witnessed between a plump American black lady and a skinny British white guy who were playing together unbeknown to the rest of us, until they cashed out together and gave each other a hug and a kiss at the cage.

I was heavily involved in their last hand. The British guy and I had built a pot to more than $600 when I missed my 17 gajillion outs on the river. He put me all-in for my last $72, and though mathematically I was supposed to call, I couldn’t bring myself to do it with just third pair, knowing if I lost, I was definitely not going to rebuy again. (Because I had no more 100s on me.) The black lady seated to my right belligerently encouraged me to call, and then called clock on me. I eventually mucked, and was pleased when the skinny white dude mucked his cards, presumably telling me that I made the correct play.

That’s when they both cashed out in celebration. And then as he exited the room, the not-so-chappy Brit came up behind me and whispered, “You couldn’t beat pocket 6s?” What an asshole, because yes, I could. So what, he’s trying to put me on tilt even after he has left the table with my money?

I did my best to remain unfazed, and sure enough I began to climb back out of the hole. As the wee hours became morning and almost tournament time, Otis and I were at adjacent tables motioning to each other where we stood in terms of getting unstuck. I was in for $700, he was in for $1,200. And both of us were playing our asses off more sober than before. With my fancy little bankroll graph in the back of my mind, I finally took control of my short-handed, reduced-rake table — with a solid read on the Euro to my right and ability to bluff the gay cowboy to my left with ease. Perhaps the only mistake I made here was getting up from a table I could beat, but it was so late, so early … I was exhausted, and for the first time in more than five hours, I was up.

Buy-in(s): $700 (3)
Cash out: $979
Net: +$279