“There is no justice in poker,” says Moneymaker, and it’s true. But bring some smarts, guile, intuition, experience—and...




An inexperienced Internet poker fish tangles with the best at Binion’s World Series of Poker—and wins big.

Our tyro on the hot seat is surnamed Moneymaker, so you might say it was in the cards. Though an amateur by Binion’s standards, the author has been drinking and gambling since an early age. He nearly tanked at the University of Tennessee, where his eyes were mainly glued to multiple televisions as he followed his sports betting and amassed a tidy little bundle of debt. He then became involved in online betting and managed to secure himself a seat at Binion’s. Moneymaker and coauthor Paisner can get lost in the detail of hands, which tends to throw water on the gathering fire. But their razor-quick prose does a good job of getting us inside Moneymaker’s head to explain why he did what he did. Mind you, as this pleasingly feckless character is quick to admit, “there were so many holes and shifts in my tournament strategy that it’s probably a stretch to even call it a strategy.” It’s great fun to watch Moneymaker mature, gathering his cool at the table where the game is Texas Hold ’Em, no fools are suffered, and “over time, the player with the most smarts and guile and intuition and experience, and the biggest balls, is always going to win.” (The vernacular is shorthand for courage, as there are dozens of crack women playing.) He learns to read certain tics of the great players, though not enough to avoid some big, blunt hits that teach him about patience, perhaps a player’s greatest asset. And he plays well enough to be graced with touches of luck just when they count most.

“There is no justice in poker,” says Moneymaker, and it’s true. But bring some smarts, guile, intuition, experience—and luck—to the table, and it can be as much fun as this firsthand account.

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-076001-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HarperEntertainment

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2005

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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