Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker

E Books Cowboys Full The Story of Poker This was a book I won through the GR giveaw

E-Books Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker This was a book I won through the GR giveaway, and which I am WAY late in rviewing. The problem is that I found it almost unreadable - tried once or twice, kept putting it aside, hoping that it would be better if I were in a different mood. I finally decided that I had to give it my best shot, and either read it or mark it abandoned.I got through about 80 pages, and just couldn't find anything to enjoy. It seemed like one big data dump, with the author just spitting out everything he had ever learned about card games and gambling, and not in a particularly interesting or amusing way. If it were a shorter book, I might have kept on - but the thought of reading another 500+ pages was unbearable.In fairness, I know some of the reviews said that after the first few chapters the book was better, but there's only so much time and effort I'm going to give a book that is just work to read.On the other hand, my husband said he thought it sounded interesting, so I've passed it along to him.. Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker am Book From James McManus, author of the bestselling Positively Fifth Street, comes the definitive story of the game that, than any other, reflects who we are and how we operate Cowboys Full is the story of poker, from its roots in China, the Middle East, and Europe to its ascent as a global but especially an American phenomenon It describes how early Americans took a FreFrom James McManus, author of the bestselling Positively Fifth Street, comes the definitive story of the game that, than any other, reflects who we are and how we operate.Cowboys Full is the story of poker, from its roots in China, the Middle East, and Europe to its ascent as a global but especially an American phenomenon It describes how early Americans took a French parlor game and, with a few extra cards and an entrepreneurial spirit, turned it into a national craze by the time of the Civil War From the kitchen table games of ordinary citizens to its influence on generals and diplomats, poker has gone hand in hand with our national experience Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama have deployed poker and its strategies to explain policy, to relax with friends, to negotiate treaties and crises, and as a political networking tool The ways we all do battle and business are echoed by poker tactics cheating and thwarting cheaters, leveraging uncertainty, bluffing and sussing out bluffers, managing risk and reward.Cowboys Full shows how what was once accurately called the cheater s game has become amostly honest contest of cunning, mathematical precision, and luck It explains how poker, formerly dominated by cardsharps, is now the most popular card game in Europe, East Asia, Australia, South America, and cyberspace, as well as on television It combines colorful history with firsthand experience from today s professional tour And it examines poker s remarkable hold on American culture, from paintings by Frederic Remington to countless poker novels, movies, and plays Braiding the thrill of individual hands with new ways of seeing poker s relevance to our military, diplomatic, business, and personal affairs, Cowboys Full is sure to become the classic account of America s favorite pastime.. James Jim McManus is an American poker player, teacher and writer living in Kenilworth, Illinois.. Popular Books Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker My review (which appeared in the poker magazine Card Player):Poker & The American ExperienceA Review of Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker by James McManusTim PetersFor some players, poker is just a game. But for many players, it’s tempting to see the game as a microcosm of life itself, as having a significance that transcends the cardroom. James McManus, the author of the justly celebrated Positively Fifth Street (his 2003 account of his run to the final table of the 2000 WSOP Main Event), is one of those people, and his new book, Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, explains why “sometimes…the game is much more than just a game.” Much of the book has been published in Card Player over the past few years under the heading “History of Poker.” Now that it’s in book form, Cowboys Full will surely be viewed as the most exhaustive and definite account of the history of poker yet published.And it is a very much a history, chronicling the ancient roots of poker to its birth and flowering in New Orleans to the global phenomenon of today. But what makes Cowboys Full so interesting is how McManus articulates the role of poker in society (primarily American society). He writes about how the game spread across the country, how it evolved, and the lessons that people have drawn from it. As the subtitle “The Story of Poker” suggests, McManus rightly understands that poker is part of a larger narrative. “My goal,” he writes, “is to show how the story of poker helps to explains who we are. The game has gone hand in hand with pivotal aspects of our national experience for a couple of centuries now.” McManus asserts July 4, 1803, can be seen as the “symbolic birth date” for the game: the date of the Louisiana Purchase, which helped open the American West. He writes that poker was the perfect game for this era in American history, a game “whose rules favored a frontiersman’s initiative and cunning, an entrepreneur’s creative sense of risk, and a democratic openness to every class of player.” Poker really is the quintessential American game.Poker’s infancy was marked by scandal, particularly during the heyday of the Mississippi River steamboats ( “the Internet card rooms of 1814”). “By the 1830s, at least six hundred sharps were working the riverboats, with one estimate putting their number as high as fifteen hundred,” he writes. Poker was known as “the cheating game” with good reason, and McManus devotes a whole chapter to the “styles and technologies of cheating” back in the day.Despite the rampant cheating, at least in big-money games, poker spread far and wide in the young country. The steamboats introduced poker to players in the North and the West; the Civil War introduced the game to players in battlefields across the South. McManus has thoroughly scoured the existing literature of poker to recount all kinds of stories, familiar and less so, of the game, including stalwarts like the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota, holding Aces and Eights. But because McManus is a cultural historian, he searches for the meaning behind the event: “It was Wild Bill Hickok who forged the strong links in the popular imagination between gunfighting, poker, and manliness—all this despite being known as a losing player who was shot from behind by a cowardly punk at the table.” That’s a good example of his strategy in the book: recount the facts, at least to the extent they are known, then search for the meaning and significance behind the facts. With the origins and spread of poker behind him, McManus turns to a less linear style for the rest of the book, with chapters on important people in the history of the game (such as Herbert O. Yardley, American cryptologist and the author of The Education of a Poker Player) and events where poker played a role (such as the terrific account of poker and its relation to the Cold War). And there are chapters on key aspects of poker history. The birth of Texas Hold’em, for example, the rise of the WSOP, and the detonation of the contemporary poker boom, which McManus dates to March 30, 2003, when the Travel Channel broadcast the Five Diamond World Poker Classic from the Bellagio. The book is particularly good on the ensuing boom (poker as a global phenomenon) and the current legal mess of the UIGEA.McManus is an excellent stylist and storyteller, so the book is unfailingly entertaining. Structurally, he struggles a bit with chapters that belong in the book but don’t have a neat slot to fit into (like the chapter on Gardena, California, and its important place in poker history). But some of these difficult-to-pigeonhole bits are excellent, like the chapter “Fooled by Randomness.”Most of the books reviewed in Card Player are designed to help you improve your play. But some are intended to help you appreciate the game you’re playing—its history, its traditions, and its cultural impact. We are living in what must surely be the golden age of poker, with games spread around the globe in unprecedented numbers, with a year-long tournament circuit with staggering prize pools, and, for a few people, the chance to turn poker playing into a career. Read Cowboys Full to understand how this golden age came about—and to grasp that poker does have a meaning beyond the felt.

About Author

  1. James Jim McManus is an American poker player, teacher and writer living in Kenilworth, Illinois.

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Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker Comment

  1. My review which appeared in the poker magazine Card Player Poker The American ExperienceA Review of Cowboys Full The Story of Poker by James McManusTim PetersFor some players, poker is just a game But for many players, it s tempting to see the game as a microcosm of life itself, as having a significance that transcends the cardroom James McManus, the author of the justly celebrated Positively Fifth Street his 2003 account of his run to the final table of the 2000 WSOP Main Event , is one of thos [...]


  2. This was a book I won through the GR giveaway, and which I am WAY late in rviewing The problem is that I found it almost unreadable tried once or twice, kept putting it aside, hoping that it would be better if I were in a different mood I finally decided that I had to give it my best shot, and either read it or mark it abandoned.I got through about 80 pages, and just couldn t find anything to enjoy It seemed like one big data dump, with the author just spitting out everything he had ever learned [...]


  3. Good book overall for anyone who s interested in the game of poker The history lessons and how the game is truly America s game that has been exported to many other countries now The older history was fascinating and well written However, I felt very bogged down by the end where at least it seemed this way every single WSOP in the last decade had the results and anaylsis The I can t wait to read this fell off when I saw individual results and of a newspaper feel and not a book feel Maybe biogra [...]


  4. The definitive history of Poker Jimbo himself describes it as the story of poker as he recounts the history of America s Game in stories, folk tales, reportage, and anecdotes McManus is an accomplished poet, teacher of writing, and previously published Positively Fifth Street the groundbreaking poker memoir.


  5. In Positively Fifth Street, James McManus did a three part juggling act in relating his first hand adventure at the World Series of Poker s main event with the trial of the accused killers of Ted Binion, while also injecting a healthy dose of poker history Of the three themes, the poker history came off as dry in comparison to the immediate drama found in the other threads It comes as a very pleasant surprise then that Cowboys Full, an ambitiously large study of poker, should be such a fascinat [...]


  6. NYT notable book 2009 This book won t tell you how to win at poker but it will explain the rise of poker from it s antecedents in Europe such as pogue to its birth in North America in New Orleans and via the Mississippi River throughout the US It became america s game of now is a world wide phenom Poker continues to evolve The five card draw games of my youth, jacks or better, are now as common as the rotary phone Seven card stud hi lo resulted in bugger pots and action and finally Texas Hold e [...]


  7. this book was very disappointing, especially since i very much enjoyed McManus other poker book, Positively 5th Street perhaps the author was just trying too hardarting from a very review of games of chance since Neandarthal man, we workthrough the origins of poker in Persia through France to the American South during the Conferederacyd then i just ranout of patience for rambling anecdotes that were, at best, tangential to the game of poker perhaps one day i will go back, skip a couple of hundre [...]


  8. Had to give this one up about half way through I play poker every day and totally relate to the poker as a mirror for everyday life premise Poker has taught me a lot about my own character I did not realize until trying to read this book that I just don t care about the history of the game, its prominence in influential circles, or the seemingly endless anecdotes and stories that the author theorizes are the bedrock of American culture, politics and society This overestimation of the game s impo [...]


  9. McManus s Cowboys Full makes room for everyone at the table Lightweights will learn something about the basics of the game and why it appeals to so many people, while those already convinced of poker s importance will find much to enjoy here as well Reviewers indicated that even those who do not normally enjoy history will appreciate the book s insights into how the game s past informs today s political strategies A few critics considered some of McManus s arguments somewhat overreaching and som [...]


  10. Hands down the best book I read in 2009If you like poker, McManus straightforward approach to the history of poker ties in everything from politics, to race in the United States The book describes so many intriguing anecdotes about how so much of American English has incorporated poker terms and theory.Even if you don t like poker this book does a great job of presenting a sweeping thesis of how Poker is truly the American Pastime and deny though you might, has in fact played a role in so many h [...]


  11. Sadly, the library needed this book back before I was able to finish I enjoyed the first half a great deal I ve even developed a warmer place in my heart for President Nixon after learning that he financed his early congressional campaign by fleecing his fellow WWII sailors Poker played an important role in the early political career of our current president as well


  12. Not to much the history of poker as the history of the world seen through poker analogies in extruciating detail This book was easily 100 pages too long The few bright spots were the few stories actually about poker.


  13. This is an excellent and well researched history of poker When I started I wanted to get to the current material that is applicable to the poker I know, but then I did get sucked in to the origins of the game This is an excellent book start to finish.


  14. Billed as the story of poker, but that doesn t quite sum it up it gives an analysis of US history and leaders thru poker colored glasses, a history of the game s development and a detailed look at comtemporary play and developments such as tournament and online play.





  15. The end is about the World Poker tour than I needed, but the rest is a sharp history of gambling and gamblers, with lots of historical tidbits where the suits came from, to cards themselves.


  16. I was very surprised by this book It was very readable, full of wonderful history and just plain fun reading Sometimes these kinds of books are fairly dry, but this one was very compelling.


  17. Aight, buckle in, because this is going to be a long one.I read James McManus Positively Fifth Street a while ago and I liked it, so I picked up his recent nonfiction book,Cowboys Full The Story of Poker This one is basically just what it says on the tin, a nonfiction history of poker, with no memoir personal essay bits It was published in 2009, two years before Black Friday although after the passage of the UIGEA This was also the year before I graduated college, and, though I managed to compl [...]


  18. After slogging through the first half, I gave up and skimmed the last half in about 20 minutes It s isn t a history of poker as much as history with poker The first half took us through the civil war and other political worlds with scant relevance for poker except that historical players enjoyed the game The book probably got better when it entered the modern era with tales of the rise of the WSOP, Stu Unger, and the rise of AI attacks on the game Unfortunately for me, I was so burnt out on the [...]


  19. As a reviewer I ll confess to being a bit academic in that most of my background is in studying at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.This is not a very clean or academic work but it is a good treatment for the lay person which is often a better read in some respects anyways I d also hazard a guess that it was written at least in part to cash in on the current poker craze so to speak but nevertheless it provides some sorts of social and historical relevance to a game otherwise generally consi [...]


  20. I d previously enjoyed James McManus s poker writing through his work in Harper s, The New York Times and The New Yorker, so when I found this book in the First Reads sections I threw my name in the hat for a chance at a copy.I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that a copy was on the way, and I have since spent the past few weeks thoroughly engaged by the book.The title is no bluff this book is a well researched compilation of poker history, from its origins to its place as an integral par [...]


  21. I heard James McManus interviewed on NPR and found him fascinating The book is less so I do like the fact that everything is history and you can take some strange topic Oranges as in John McPhee or Poker and tell its story and by doing so highlight a side of history and of life that had never quite looked that way before At first the book is pretty interesting I know nothing about poker or cards and have never played than a little bit as a teenager Lots of strange characters and interesting evo [...]


  22. McManus dives into a history of poker, ending by making the case that poker has become America s game His argument seems quite sound I liked listening to some of the older pre Civil War history which I hadn t heard before, the start on riverboats You could picture the well dressed gambler Maverick through many of these stories I found some of the game descriptions and WSOP history a bit repetitive with other poker books, including McManus previous one I listened on abridged audio The abridgement [...]


  23. I enjoyed this book, but felt like the end did not really go with the rest of the story The first four fifths of the book does a good job of explaining how poker came into being and how it spread across the country and eventually the world After discussing the WSOP, the rest of the book examines where poker is going, some legal issues it faces, and how academics are using and studying poker This section of the book felt like an appendix If you have a interest in the history of poker, I would re [...]


  24. actually, i m learning a lot by accident since i m being forced to read this and never read nonfiction not really learning about things in which i have any real interest, or about poker at all, but about presidents, politics, the wild west, prohibition, etc thus far, the pokerness is a fairly incidental theme for a really good writer to write some really interesting stories today i learned that nyc had around 32 THOUSAND speakeasies in the mid 20 s WHAT how is that even possible also that the wa [...]


  25. Well researched, thoughtful and penetrating analysis of the history of poker and its influence on US politics and culture through the 1970s and the tail end of the Vietnam War After that, the narrative loses cohesion and gets bogged down in play by play rehashing of WSOP matches, etc The weakest chapters are about women players includes biologicial essentialism, cultural sexism and a lot of nonsense and international poker stars on the US circuit focuses on Vietnamese immigrant players mostly ex [...]


  26. The problem I had with this book is that it could be divided into two parts In large sections he is making grand pronouncements about how people in America have a poker mentality when dealing with non poker issues I find this to be a bit of a stretch and really kind of distracting On the other hand, the sections where he is actually dealing with the history of poker or the current state of poker were great and entertaining They were informative but engaging and made me think of the writing he di [...]


  27. When I recommend this book to my poker buddies, I inevitably give them a warning regarding having to endure the first couple of chapters But once McManus gets rolling, it is a very good read You can t really compare it to his Positively Fifth Street because they re two different styles, with this one leaning much toward factual data support rather than simple story telling Nonetheless, a fun and interesting read.If you re a poker buff and enjoy the fascination and growth of the game over the pa [...]


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