Ray Michael B. writes a column for the bi-weekly Poker Digest magazine expressing his insights into the world of poker and beyond. This book contains an abundance of essays, stories, anecdotes, and commentaries by the author attempting to answer the question, “What is it really like … the world of poker?”
This book is divided into four sections. The first two cover the game of poker as seen through the eyes of Ray Michael B., self described semi-retired neuro-surgeon and poker aficionado. The third section is a brief selection of poker related comic panels by Ron Strombaugh. The forth section covers the author’s interpretations of various historical events through the metaphor of a poker game.
Time to cut to the chase. I don’t know any way to put this delicately. I didn’t like this book. In fact, I didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. The only reason I finished it is because I planned to write this review, and I wouldn’t feel right about reviewing a book I hadn’t read in its entirety. I do not enjoy Mr. B’s writing style, I didn’t learn anything at all about playing poker, and even the comics were totally uninteresting.
I must admit, though, that Ray Michael B. does appear to be very bright and very well read. Furthermore, it’s obvious that he is also a devoted student of history. In fact, his historical essays were my favorite, or rather least unfavorite, part of the book. Unfortunately, though, his complete lack of anything substantive to say about the game of ligaz11 poker and grating writing style make me unable to say anything kind about this work.
To be fair, there are almost certainly folks out there who like Ray Michael B’s writing style. Seemingly, someone at both Two Plus Two and Poker Digest does. However, this is something I cannot appreciate, nor was it enjoyed by the admittedly limited list of folks with whom I’ve spoken about it. Of course, if one does read and enjoy the author’s columns regularly, by all means, pick up this book, as it is more of the same. But if the reader does not enjoy those columns, or hasn’t read them, I cannot recommend this book. Furthermore, frankly, I’m a little puzzled why Two Plus Two, which normally has impeccable taste in publishing good books on gambling, would add this book to their catalog. If this book describes “the actual real world of poker,” then I guess I’ve been playing some other game for years.
Before buying this book, the prospective reader should go out and read at least two of Ray Michael B’s columns in Poker Digest magazine. If they are enjoyed, by all means pick up a copy of PokerFarce and PokerTruth. If they are not enjoyed, or are unavailable, I wouldn’t spend my time or money on this work.