Book Review: The Professor, The Banker, And The Suicide King

26 Jun 2005

One of my Father’s Day gifts was The Professor, The Banker, And The Suicide King. If you follow the poker world at all, you know about Andy Beal and “the corporation” put together by Doyle Brunson. The book goes behind the scenes of the series of heads-up matches that took place between 2001 and 2004.

The book is stunning on a variety of levels. First, the fact that Michael Craig, the author, obtained so much first hand information. One would think that the details of the matches, including the negotiations of the terms, the funding of the corporation, the various disagreements among the members of the corporation, etc., would have been a tooth-pull to get out of the pros and Beal, but Craig manages to get very detailed play-by-play from behind the scenes.

It is fascinating to get a glimpse of these pros away from the televised table - Jen Harmon, Ted Forrest and Barry Greenstein, in particular. Because these top pros show so little in the way of emotion at the tables, its difficult to picture them having the conversations and concerns presented in the book.

Beal’s obsession with the game and his efforts to gain an advantage (two words: “chip abacus”) in the matches is riveting. Many of us have caught a similar strain of the poker bug, but his drive and unlimited bankroll put him in the unique position to push the pros to new heights in terms of money and pressure. Do not miss the epilogue for even more insight into the hold that poker has on Beal.

Bottom line: Highly recommended for the poker obsessed.

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Franklin Henderson