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Broke: A Poker Novel Paperback – March 30, 2006

3.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brandon Adams, a poker player, writer, and doctoral student, made it to the final table of the 2005 Tournament of Champions. He teaches a popular course in behavioral finance to Harvard undergraduates.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (March 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595377297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595377299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,661,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By F. Presson on October 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw an article in a recent poker magazine by this author, and liked it a lot, so I jumped on the chance to read the present title. First off, this is not a novel. I guess it's like academic departments with "science" in the name (proverbially, they're not sciences); if you have to emphasize that your book is a novel by titling it one, it probably isn't. There are three characters total who receive any more than a passing mention, the action is linear and simple -- not quite sufficient to deserve the term "plot" -- and the arc of development of each character is more like a point.

OK, that wouldn't necessarily ruin the experience. _Broke_ reads like a poker storybook (think static like _Bad Beats and Lucky Draws_, not dynamic like _Take Me to the River_ or _Hunting Fish_) rather than a novel, and it is certainly possible to enjoy it as such. _Broke_ is full of poker anomie, including reflections on gambling addiction, the culture of degenerates and jaded action junkies, and the general impossibility of the project of making a living playing the game. Perhaps this is a needed antidote to some people's optimism and boosterism about poker, but I think it fair to warn the reader about this particular imbalance in the book.

That's the bad news; the good news is that the book is extremely short, so if you find the attitude distasteful, at least the experience will be over soon.

Proportionally, there are a lot of interesting anecdotes and hand histories, though, so there is some content of interest to the poker enthusiast. At the start of Chapter 3, a player named Mason (Malmuth?) poses the Three Logicians Problem to the protagonist during a game, and he "goes into check-fold mode" for a few hands until he solves the problem in his head. Pretty impressive!
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Format: Paperback
There's wonderful poker non-fiction and short stories, but poker novels are rare and usually contain either unrealistic poker (i.e. Richard Jessup's The Cincinnati Kid and Nelson Algren's The Man with the Golden Arm) or are just bad novels.

Ten years ago, Rick Bennet wrote King of a Small World, a realistic account of professional club players of that era, and an impressive novel in its own right. Now Brandon Adams has done the same for the modern educated, mathematical, high stakes Internet and tournament players, what some people call the "new new thing" players.

The hip, jagged, spare intensely introspective prose perfectly mimics the feeling of marathon poker sessions for high stakes. The characters veer wildly near anomie on one side and passionately involved self-destruction on the other, but are poker players enough to retain the control to survive with identities intact. The book has a disassociated time sense in which the rapidity of multitabling on the Internet and the deep thought before the clock is called in a television tournament acquire the same rhythm, and life in between fades into background. The deceptively simple writing tells a story on many levels, this is one of those books you read in one sitting, then immediately read again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This reveiw will be short, like the 'novel'. You like bad beat stories? Read on.

I paid my $10, and it arrived. I opened it and found I had bought 90 1/2 pages of 'novel' double spaced. Follow the math here. That is 45 1/4 pages single spaced. I read it in about an hour. Don't ask me what it was about. I was fuming too much about paying $10 for 45 1/4 pages to really care.

45 1/4 pages are between a short story and a novella, but I paid for a novel. This review is over. Buy it if you too want to take a bad beat; I won't say, told you so.

Or, you might want to get 'Shut Up and Deal', the best poker novel ever written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a glimpse of the world of mostly young poker players, this is good. As a novel, it is slight. One cannot say nothing happens and the narration isn't unattractive or hard to follow. However, the emotional impact of the events is rather one-dimensional, and depressing, and the characters are superficially hard to distinguish from one another. Adams is a well-known poker player and his writing makes me think he could write good non-fiction but there is little evidence here that he is a novelist.
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Format: Paperback
This book is not really for beginners. Like most other books, it does not discuss poker strategy or probabilities and stuff like that. In every poker book you read what bankroll you need and when you can move up to higher stakes. IT IS THE GOAL OF MOST PLAYERS TO MOVE UP TO HIGHER STAKES. That of course was also my goal, make a living playing poker.

This book shows the downside of (semi-)professional poker players. Why you want to move up, why you cant sleep at night and so on. It shows how a player went broke, it shows that poker is highly addictive. I realized, I am no exception to the people he describes. I found tendencies of myself in almost every chapter.

I read the book twice. And since I did that, I adjusted my goals I want to reach by playing poker. I still love the game, I am still dreaming of the big win, but the way I want to achieve it, changed.

I just love this book.
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