The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King
Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time

by Michael Craig

The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King is a fascinating look at the highest limit poker game ever played and one man's somewhat quixotic quest to play and beat the world's best. A Billionaire banker from Dallas and poker hobbyist, Andy Beal, decided to take on some of the world's greatest poker players in headsup matches for buyins of $10 million dollars per player. Since the limits were so large, the pros had to pool their money into a "corporation" to take on the billionaire.

The corporation changes from match to match since players were required to have their money on hand when the corporation is formed for each match or they get frozen out. At first the big-name pros are lining up to get a piece of the billionaire, but come to realize that the old saying "you better be careful what you wish for...you just may get it" rings true. Most of the members of the corporation are household names in poker, including Doyle Brunson, Jennifer Harman, Johnny Chan, Todd Brunson, Howard Lederer, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Chip Reese, and Phil Ivey.

The book concentrates primarily on Andy and his quest to beat the world's best at their own game. Through very very hard work, (writing computer simulations, practicing day and night, etc...) Andy evolves from a relative poker "newbie" to a real threat in just a few months, and the pro's start to get worried. Just one good session for Andy and the professionals will be busted. One of the most interesting facets of Andy's play is the use of his modified watch and chips to randomize his game and predict when his best bluff opportunities might occur. Additionally, Andy negotiates to get the limits pushed higher and higher over the matches until he and the corporation are playing for $100,000/$200,000 blinds. At these mind boggling limits it's interesting to see how the pros react as millions of dollars are won and lost on each hand, which pros are pushed out of their comfort zones, and which rise to the occasion.The dynamics of the corporation are interesting as the matches ebb and flow.

Secondarily, the book talks with the pros and tries to get inside the mind set of pro poker players. Is it their need for action a double edged sword driving them to risk their security but in turn necessary play the biggest games in the world?

This book was a very fast read and I would recommend it to anyone who follows poker, investing, or just dreams of being the best at something. The book isn't really a strategy book and doesn't concentrate on very many specific hands, but you should learn a thing or two about what it takes to be a pro player and the drive needed to become a self-made billionaire. After reading the book, if you're not inspired to work harder on your game and in your life...you must not have a pulse.


 

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