FAST COMPANY by Jon Bradshaw


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An ensemble of mini-biographies of assorted high rollers -- compulsive gamblers who more often than not take the last pot. What distinguishes this breed of ""hard, shrewd men"" is their ability to win. Then again, for most of them money is merely ""a handy means of keeping score."" Poker-playing Pug Pearson believes it's the competition that counts, whether he's placing side bets on the links or into some heavy action in Vegas. An impish Bobby Riggs is profiled as a hustler par excellence before and during his easy Court win. A now-retired Minnesota Fats -- known as New York Fats before The Hustler put him back in the spotlight -- never gets ""emotionally involved over cash."" Tim Holland, a golfer turned backgammon expert, considers winning ""his business."" Johnny Moss, another former golf hustler and Southern cardsharp, won the 1974 World Series of Poker at the age of 68 (""I play for the cash and you don't choke for the cash""). Titanic Thompson, a folkloric con artist and jack of all games in the '20's and '30's, was as adept pitching walnuts over buildings as he was picking off rats. $100,000 anecdotes and tall tales dicey enough for anyone who's a croupier at heart.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1975
Publisher: Harper's Magazine Press