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Hunting Fish: A Cross-Country Search for America's Worst Poker Players Hardcover – August 8, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312347839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312347833
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,971,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Greenspan, the editor of Winning Internet Poker for Dummies, narrates a three-month odyssey in which he hopes to win enough money to take on the power players at California's Commerce Casino. This is partly a technical book, replete with Greenspan's exhaustive musings on how to play particular hands (which will be arcane and tedious to nonplayers) and partly a sophisticated insider's exploration of the dynamics of the poker world. Greenspan theorizes, for instance, that this world is a "giant inverted pyramid" where "the richest and most skilled reside at the bottom." It's to those pros, the Doyle Brunsons and Phil Iveys of the world, that the money ultimately falls. A surrogate for the millions of Americans who fantasize about becoming professional poker players, Greenspan ends up debunking the myth that it's an easy lifestyle, pointing to the long hours, the stress of high stakes poker, and the dysfunctional personalities that inhabit the poker world. Accordingly, despite concluding that he is good enough to play professionally, Greenspan decides the poker life isn't for him. Readers will applaud the good sense of this able and likable writer. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"If I were seeking a guide to lead me through the streams in search of really big fish, I'd grab my tackle and get in Jay's canoe. And if I were searching for fish at the poker table, I'd follow Jay too. And so should you. He can lead you to everything you wanted to know about poker but have never asked." --Lou Krieger, author of POKER FOR DUMMIES
 
"There are great poker players and there are great writers. Jay is one of the rare exceptions who is a star at both. As a poker writer, he is a fresh voice with sharp insights on game play, strategy, players, and poker's impact on pop culture. Gauging from his large following on the Web, when Jay talks poker, poker people listen." --Bhu Srinivasan, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of All In magazine
 
"Jay Greenspan is a terrific writer with a deep and detailed understanding of poker. If he's writing a book, it's guaranteed to be entertaining. Hunting Fish is the kind of book veteran and novice poker players alike will really enjoy reading, and stands a great chance of joining the short list of poker classics." --Dan Kimberg, Card Player columnist

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Customer Reviews

It just comes off as laughable and a little pathetic.
Between here and there
And it's not an instruction book, so don't buy this if that's what you need.
Brunello
I enjoyed his self-awareness that this wasn't the lifestyle for him.
Jerry B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jerry B on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I left the book wondering if we were the fish for buying the book. I expected far more stories of soft games and how he exploited inexperienced people. However, the book is really more about the problems and experiences related to trying to play poker professionally. The book is valuable as a realistic look into the real poker world; hours of boredom for a few minutes of excitement.
I wish he was able to tell us more about the people he played against but since he skipped from game to game that probably was impossible.
I enjoyed his self-awareness that this wasn't the lifestyle for him. He seem so be a good tournament and internet player, so it makes you wonder why he ever left home to start with.
I agree with other reviewers that some of the hands he played were long-shot hands not normally played. However, I wasn't sitting there and didn't have the feel of the table or the players. Many times you make a play with 7,2 offsuit against a weak player to steal the pot but that may come only after you have built a super tight image and they believe you have the best hand.
Overall, I did like the book and it re-enforced my idea that the television version of poker is massively over hyped. The reality, not told in this book is that very few poker players make real money compared to the masses that play. At least, he shared his feelings and concerns about other poker players and what he might become if he continued. His decision in the end was correct and, perhaps, a lesson in gambling for all of us.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Murphy on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
this book has 2 problems - the author and the narrative. first, he spend the entire book building up to his shot at 10-20 nl, then spends 2 pages there. huh? why did i stay for this?

second the author has an extremely vaunted opinion of his poker skills. oh, hes a semipro? who isnt. in 1 memorable part, he 'thinks' he picks up a tell on a big pro, bluffs him off a pot, then assumes that he can now wash that pro anytime he likes. any thought to randomness here? no, he jumps right to the conclusion he is now one of the worlds best. minutes later when he busts out, he says 'on any given day i can beat the best'. ohhhh, really? guess what, on any given day, so can anyone. thats poker
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Suescun on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great read, compelling from start - what's more compelling than reading about a poker player getting robbed, literally, of his bank roll a week before setting out on a cross-country poker trip? - to satisfying finish. The hand descriptions are precise and vivid, but it's Greenspan's excellent description of the color around the game - the various tablemates, the tedium of long sessions - and, most impressively, his thoughtful chronicling of his internal journey that the great gift of this book. A wonderful yarn, and a thought-provoking read for anyone who's ever considered going pro.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Ecker on August 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
this book tells it like it really is. I've read many many poker books and I found this to be among the most riveting and realistic narratives. I would rate it up alongside Big Deal by Tony Holden as one of the most entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable poker books ever written. The author comes at it from a fairly unique angle, as a budding semi-pro player who is trying to make a living at a game he loves. Poker is about different things to different people, and this book tells a realistic tale about making a living as a "blue collar" cash game specialist.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Booklover on August 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I know almost nothing about poker beyond the basics. A friend who makes his living playing pro poker gave me this book with the comment, "This will help you understand me better." And it certainly did. I was immediately hooked by Greenspan's description of the unglamourous world he had entered when he decided to embark on a three-month trip across America playing Texas Hold'em in casinos and back room joints. The conceit of the book, that he is always on the lookout for a "fish" to outplay, holds up. The real strength of the book, however, is Greenspan's realization that the world he has entered is not quite what he had expected. He is also disarmingly frank about his own limitations as a player and how much that old rascal Luck enters into the game. Greenspan's decision about how to frame his future, the experiences that contributed to that decision, and his reflections on his tour across America is what made the book a fascinating read for me. Experienced poker players will probably also enjoy the descriptions of poker hands he plays along the way.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I admit it. I read this one as the last of several 'I wonder if I should be a full time poker pro?' genre books. The author's writing voice and story is so similar (to some of the others I read first) that if you gave me a sample of his writing to compare to similar paragraphs from the other writers, I couldn't tell you which author or book it came from. That colors my viewpoint. If you haven't read the others first and if you share the common fantasy of becoming a full-time pro poker player,this would be a fresh and cautionary read.

Don't get me wrong. This guy is an excellent writer. And the story is interesting if you haven't read some of the others with the same basic narrative.

If you think you might be interested in this genre, I recommend you read "Positively Fifth Street" by James McManus first. Then research some of the others before you buy this one.

And it's not an instruction book, so don't buy this if that's what you need.

It's a good read. Not necessarily the best.
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