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Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids: How a Gang of Geeks Beat the Odds and Stormed Las Vegas Paperback – August 29, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Kushner does an impressive job of providing condensed explanations of such wide-ranging gaming concepts as the underlying premise of Magic, the mathematical foundation of card counting, and sports betting theory, while keeping the reader engaged in Finkel's ongoing tribulations and triumphs. Interwoven within the biography is also an intriguing account of Dr. Richard Garfield, the inventor of Magic, who would be a worthy subject for his own story.
Ironically, the story's pinnacle comes via the success not of Finkel but of David Williams, another Card Shark Kid and Magic enthusiast, who claimed the 3.5 million dollar second prize of the 2004 World Series of Poker.Read more ›
Jonny Magic is a quick read—ideal for anyone interested in background information on the greatest game created in the last 30 years or one of the greatest athletes of our generation. This book is fun to read—a lot of the early bullying stories and later gambling tales are really eye opening. Mr Kushner has unearthed some interesting background details & covers most of the high points in Finkel’s life.
However, this book mostly misses the point when trying to draw larger social conclusions that are so far not evident in the facts of Mr Finkel’s life. Mr Kushner would have done better with more subjects and more time in the trenches with Magic Players. The book would have been rewarded by a more laser like focus on Magic and less discussion of poker and black jack—chapters of why some people play magic for reasons other than money, would have been refreshing.
More focus on Jon Finkel and why “when he plays a card it is amazing, and when you play the same card it is just ok”—the story of what makes Finkel the best Magic Player requires more analysis of what makes a good Magic player and what playing Magic means. That story, which is the story I bought the book to read, is not meant to be the story of this book and still remains to be written.
What is evident in Finkel’s life so far is that he is the best magic player ever. How he got there is detailed, what he did while he was at the top of his game is discussed, where is he is today is addressed. Unfortunately, what exactly that means is left to the reader to figure out.
Highly recommended read, quick, fun, entertaining.
Cons: The writing could be better. Some parts of the book were a bit sloppy in my opinion.
Summary: A good book about a man who achieved his dreams in an unconventional way.
Overall: A solid 8/10.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't play cards. I can't imagine playing all day, let alone all night.
A good day for me is getting muddy on a mountain bike. Read more
I admire David Kushner's writing skills - he can tell a good story and seems to do the needed research. I loved his "Masters of Doom". Read morePublished on March 16, 2007 by Bruce Kimball
I didn't know anything about the game of Magic, but basically read this book for the Blackjack card counting story and the poker story. Very easy to read and interesting. Read morePublished on May 31, 2006 by Gregory C. Junge
I'm not really one for books about Poker and games, but i read the last book by this author, Masters of Doom, and I saw a review of Jonny Magic in the New York Times book review... Read morePublished on March 2, 2006 by booklover
I loved this book! I picked it up on a whim at the airport, and couldn't put it down for the entire flight. Now I'm telling all my friends to get it. Read morePublished on March 2, 2006 by Wanda Leone
Jon Finkel was obviously a very bright boy who grew up heckled and hazed until taking up a trading-card game called Magic: The Gathering. Read morePublished on February 22, 2006 by Loyd Eskildson
They both made a decent amount of money playing Magic, then went on to make even more money gambling. Finkel is From New Jersey, Williams from Texas. Read morePublished on December 14, 2005 by Steven Glowacki
This book actually provides a step-by-step rendition of how
a group of geeks "beat the house-literally" . The kids beat
Las Vegas casinos. Read more
What an awesome, awesome book! Couldn't put it down. It's great storytelling about a kid everyone can relate with. You really root for this guy. Read morePublished on November 28, 2005 by ryangreer nyc