second PokerLizard Featured Book is one of the
most entertaining reads to come along in awhile.
of a Mad Poker Player chronicles Richard
Sparks' journey through cyberspace as he tries
to win a seat in the big one at the 2004 WSOP.
So for anyone who has played online, had questions
about internet poker's integrity, or just likes
a good read, we can highly recommend this book.
Sparks is a professional
writer with TV shows, plays, and operas under
his belt. That fact alone already catapults Diary
way above most books on poker. Unlike the pros,
who have a lot of good strategy and bad beats
to recall, Sparks can spin a great story and turn
an otherwise mundane online poker session into
a rivetting read. He ranks right up there with
Alvarez (Biggest Game in Town) and McManus (Positively
Fifth Street). If you've read either of those
masterpieces, then you know what you have to look
Poker Player starts out with a line
that all online players are all too familiar with:
"It's late. I should be in bed." Thus
begins Sparks' perfectly accurate account of the
late-night internet world. He takes us through
his thought process as he rationalizes playing
instead of working. Luckily for him (and us) he
decides early on to knock out two birds with one
stone and write about his journey to the World
Series. From there, it takes off as he enters
satellite after satellite, many times reprinting
entire chat threads from actual online tourneys.
This is where a seasoned internet player will
really connect to the book. Sparks captures all
the glory of huge wins and all the pain of bad
beats - along with the colorful language that
One of the most interesting topics
covered in Diary
is cheating online and how the sites deal with
it. Sparks takes us behind the scenes as he meets
with reps from some of the major sites, and puts
the hard questions to them. "How do you prevent
cheating?" "How do you deal with cheaters?"
"Do you compensate the victims?" It's
all here and in great detail. Richard's access
as a media rep in last year's WSOP leads to some
excellent insight into the growing internet craze.
It's much bigger than you think.
culminates at the 2004 WSOP, with Richard playing
(you'll have to read it to find out just how far
he gets) as well as interviewing a lot of players.
It all makes for a page-turning and satisfying
read, and we can't wait for his next book, due
this and other reviews in the Lizard Lounge.