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Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler [Kindle Edition]

L. Jon Wertheim
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“A tremendously satisfying road story. What makes Running the Table so special is not the pool prowess of its protagonist but the unlikely bond between two wildly different young men who find each other through an exhilarating, often infuriating game.”—Los Angeles Times

Running the Table spins the outrageous tale of Kid Delicious, an affable skilled pool shark from New Jersey, and his studly if less talented setup man, Bristol Bob. Wertheim follows this mismatched pair of sidekicks as they go underground to learn the art of the hustle while experiencing the highs and lows of life on the road. Their four-year odyssey takes them from podunk pool halls to slick urban billiard rooms across America, some nights taking down as much as $30,000 and others ending up with just enough gas money to get home. With every stop the action gets hotter, the calls get closer, and Delicious’s prowess with a cue stick becomes more widely known. Ultimately the Kid sheds his cover, becoming perhaps the biggest sensation in professional pool since Minnesota Fats. Wertheim paints a lasting portrait of an insanely talented and magnetic hustler who is literally larger than life.

“Renders the trappings of a road player’s life . . . readers are taken on a sweet and varied ride.”—Sports Illustrated

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This new release from Sports Illustrated writer Wertheim (Venus Envy), who expertly reports a true life story reminiscent of The Hustler and The Color of Money, details the exploits of Danny Kid Delicious Basavich, who, after dropping out of high school in the 1990s, went from being a suicidal, overweight teen to a legendary pool player. Wertheim has created a new version of the American dream, one where the predictable life of white picket fences and green lawns is replaced by the adventures brought by the spin of a cue ball and wads of greenbacks continually changing hands. At the heart of the book is the engrossing tale of two distinct relationships. The first is about Kid's two selves—the personable, pool-playing wiz and the bedridden, depressed bundle of nerves. The other story line follows the ruckus raised by the pool-playing exploits of the fat and friendly Kid and his fit and feisty partner, Bristol Bob. Adding to the book's appeal is Wertheim's eloquent and vivid prose that so perfectly captures the squalid, sepia-toned environs of America's billiard halls that it's easy to forget that the events in this book reflect recent history and not pool's roaring 1920s heyday . (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

If professional pool players are an endangered species, pool hustlers would seem altogether extinct. But like a field researcher reporting a passenger pigeon in New Jersey, Wertheim presents Danny Basavich, aka Kid Delicious, as proof that hustlers walk among us yet. He couldn't have asked for a better subject. Like pool's most famous big man, Delicious has a larger-than-life personality and an ability to make losers love him. But he also has a dark side, "full-moon phases" that sometimes lay him low for months. Wertheim records Delicious' journey from high-school loser to high-stakes winner, keeping the pacing brisk as the Kid learns the ropes on the road, in bed, and at the bank. Eventually, with his face and belly too well known to prospective marks, Delicious tries to make the transition to professional pool, which, paradoxically, is far less lucrative. Pool insiders often lack the literary chops to sell their stories to the general public; Wertheim, a professional sportswriter (Transition Game, 2005), has an eye for detail and can turn a phrase—and he's clearly fascinated by the game. You will be, too. Graff, Keir

Product Details

  • File Size: 2849 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 3, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003JTHWC8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,474 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended October 30, 2007
The story of Kid Delicious is great fun and a look into the world of pool, hustling, gambling and life on the road that most of us have no idea even exists. The author brings the cast of characters to life and for someone like me with a 9 to 5 job, wife and kids it was stunning to read how these guys lived on the road for months with only their wits and pool skills to keep them going. I was afraid this book would be another pumped up magazine article, but there was much depth and backstory throughout so I never got that feeling. The book is well researched and the writing is crisp and to the point. I highly recommend this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book October 17, 2007
This was a great book. One of those books you don't want to end. Kid Delicious is a person with insecurities, fears, and issues that we can all relate to. I found myself rooting for him on every page. It feels like L. John Wertheim is in the back seat of the car for the entire journey. His ability to paint a picture of the pool sub-culture is second to none. I highly recommend this book to anyone who can relate to an ordinary person doing his best to be extraordinary in his pursuit.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"Jeez, that fat man, look at the way he moves. Like a dancer.
And those fingers, them chubby fingers. That stroke,
It's like he's playing the violin or something."

- Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) marveling at
- Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in "The Hustler"
The above quote is what begins the PROLOGUE of this gripping true story of Danny "Kid Delicious" Basavich. Danny is a 5 foot 9 nine inch 320 pound, charming, bipolar, depressed, suicidal, crowd-pleasing, warm-smiling, ice-breaking, pool-hustling, professional champion, Jewish mensch, from New Jersey, by way of Brooklyn! Danny as a kid would buy candy and treats in bulk, bring them to school and sell them at outrageous markups between classes. He also ran poker games during study hall and football pools on Fridays. He ingeniously figured out that packs of baseball cards that included valuable bonus cards were slightly thicker than the regular packs. Using a micrometer Danny could figure out which packs had the valuable cards in them without opening the pack and would then buy those packs and resell the bonus cards at a huge markup. In summary, before Danny started playing pool he already had the makings of a classic hustler. Due to his girth Danny was teased and bullied unmercifully in high school and dropped out when he was fifteen. Danny became overridden with depression. He would sleep all day and eat unbelievable amounts of food. Then he discovered pool, which probably saved his life and made this writer's dream of a story reality.

Danny starts practicing pool in every waking minute of his life and his burgeoning talent gives him a reason to live.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PoolJax October 9, 2007
I found Running The Table to be an excellent read. Even if your not a hard gambler or a pool player, you will enjoy this book.
Jon Wertheim's writing is exceptional and the tales of Kid Delicious and his travels are really fun and entertaining.
To read more about Danny Basavich aka Kid Delicious Google: PoolJax
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RUNNING THE TABLE October 4, 2007
RUNNING the TABLE...Danny Basavich's life story up to now is a great read as I knew it would be. If you enjoy pool, hustling, gambling and con jobs, this is a must read. Although I never got to play Danny, I've met him and watched him play many times. He's a great player and a great guy. John "Johnny T" Terrell
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, whether you like pool or not... September 23, 2008
I may not be a pool enthusiast, but there is much to like in Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler by L. Jon Wertheim.

Danny Basavich is the most unlikely of heroes. A native of Manalapan, NJ, Basavich was an over-weight kid who suffered from bipolar disorder. He was repeatedly bullied by other kids, which led to a pattern of switching from school to school. Finally, he dropped out and got his high school diploma through an alternative program before he turned 16. Not having anything to occupy his time, he started hanging out at a local pool hall. The locals liked this amiable kid who had a natural talent for pool. After taking him as far as they were able, they then drove him up to Chicago Billiards in West Haven, CT--considered to be the "finishing school" of pool players. Here, Basavich learned to progress from pool player to a "pool thinker," allowing him to visualize a game of pool like a game of chess and thus, always looking toward future plays.

At Chicago Billiards, Basavich met Bristol Bob Begey. Together, they decided to take to the road and try to make a living hustling pool. Much of this book details their travels together, as well as Basavich's solo road trips. This is a fascinating lifestyle as they traveled all over the country. Sometimes, Basavich would make $5000 on a set of pool, and then make another $10-15,000 on side bets. But pool hustlers also tend to be compulsive gamblers, and they could lose the dough just as fast on cards, casino games, and other bets. Wertheim also talks about what makes a good hustler. Often times, Basavich would intentionally lose a game early to win a big pot later on.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Pretty good book. Its full of stories that make you think hmmmmm.
Published 2 months ago by TOM HALL
4.0 out of 5 stars It's also a great human interest story
It makes me want to hit the road with my pool buds. It's also a great human interest story.
Published 3 months ago by Michael Haley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, puts you on the road with Kid ...
Wonderful book, puts you on the road with Kid Delicious and Bristol Bob as they tour the country. In addition to the David versus Goliath story of a local pool legend matching... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sean Tubridy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A funny story of an uncovnentional lifestyle in under ground America
Published 4 months ago by D Kneedler
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read
Fun to read. This books is a personal account of one pool players journey from being a beginner to turning pro.
Published 10 months ago by average guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
"Running the Table" is extremely entertaining. Unlike my novel, the story of Kid Delicious is based on truth, and that makes the book even more amazing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jackie T. Shirley
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Pool story!
This was a fun read, I really liked the authors ability to keep the story moving, and build on the vocabulary related to the game of pool. Read more
Published 16 months ago by George W. Beams
5.0 out of 5 stars how can you miss with a main character in a book who goes by kid...
Fun read. Absolute joy. Reminded me of Kerouac's On the Road, in some ways at least, in that the Kid and his pool hustling partner stay on the move, from town to town, in search of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Kirk Alex
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice stories, intereresting characters, well written.
A good book, and well written. I found it enjoyable.

One problem with the otherwise OK Kindle edition: persistent confusion between "off" and "of. Read more
Published 21 months ago by M. Johnston
4.0 out of 5 stars Kid Delicious
Was an easy read and very entertaining look into the world of pool and hustling. Had some funny anecdotal moments and gave insight into Bi-Polarism/ADHD and how pool was the cure... Read more
Published 21 months ago by C B Baldwin
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More About the Author

L. JON WERTHEIM is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and the author of five books, including Blood in the Cage, a chronicle of the rise of mixed martial arts, and Running the Table, about a bipolar pool hustler named Kid Delicious, which has been optioned for film by Tom Hanks's Playtone and is currently in development. His work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing numerous times.

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