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Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker Paperback – Bargain Price, September 28, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Poker & The American Experience
A Review of Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker by James McManus
For some players, poker is just a game. But for many players, it's tempting to see the game as a microcosm of life itself, as having a significance that transcends the cardroom. James McManus, the author of the justly celebrated Positively Fifth Street (his 2003 account of his run to the final table of the 2000 WSOP Main Event), is one of those people, and his new book, Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, explains why "sometimes...the game is much more than just a game."
Much of the book has been published in Card Player over the past few years under the heading "History of Poker." Now that it's in book form, Cowboys Full will surely be viewed as the most exhaustive and definite account of the history of poker yet published.
And it is a very much a history, chronicling the ancient roots of poker to its birth and flowering in New Orleans to the global phenomenon of today. But what makes Cowboys Full so interesting is how McManus articulates the role of poker in society (primarily American society). He writes about how the game spread across the country, how it evolved, and the lessons that people have drawn from it. As the subtitle "The Story of Poker" suggests, McManus rightly understands that poker is part of a larger narrative. "My goal," he writes, "is to show how the story of poker helps to explains who we are. The game has gone hand in hand with pivotal aspects of our national experience for a couple of centuries now.Read more ›
That this is a great history of a great game is true, but it doesn't do justice to the 500 page book. It is more a telling of great poker tales, intertwined with historical events that shed a new light on the importance of poker in our nation's history. In that sense it is also a psychological analysis of important moments of American history (like the Civil War, the development of the West, and the rise of Barack Obama) as seen through the lens of a poker player.
Those who might be intimidated by this books formitable length should know that unlike Positively Fifth Street, Cowboys Full does not have to be read as a single narrative (Though I read it cover to cover in three mammoth sittings -- so compelling are the stories). It is entertaining and informative in bits and pieces; each chapter standing alone. It could well sit on your nightstand for a year -- providing a nice small nugget of poker history and lore each night to entertain you -- and to fill your dreams.
McManus is highly skilled at serving up tons of information in an enjoyable and easy to read manner. I can't tell you how much I learned from reading it. Most of all, it made me realize how pertinent and valuable poker-related thinking skills are to decisions away from the felt on both micro and macro levels.
For those poker aficionados who thirst for insight into the history of the game, COWBOYS FULL by James McManus is, simply put, an encyclopedia of the card game played in almost every conceivable venue where one can place a table, chairs, deck of cards and stacks of poker chips, tracing the game from its creation in Europe and Asia. As immigrants travelled to our shores, they brought the various manifestations of the card game with them, and as America expanded westward, there was an accompanying infatuation with poker that spread from the colonies to the frontier.
Along the way, McManus points out many interesting and informative facts representing the interplay between poker and our nation's history. For example, he notes that while Barack Obama brought many unique new accomplishments to his presidency, he shared one trait with almost all former occupants of the White House: a love of poker. From the founding fathers to Andrew Jackson, from FDR to Truman, there is a long and exalted history of poker-playing presidents.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best book about the history of poker is "Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker"
Cowboy's Full is mostly a great read, and there's a lot of interesting things to... Read more
Great book for most poker fans especially those interested in the history of the game, long before it became the 'real' American pastime. Read morePublished 16 months ago by B_D_
an excellent history of the game of poker. a must for every literate poker player.Published 16 months ago by G. Aladro
This book is a comprehensive history and it does the requisite job describing the antecedents. However, the first half feels somewhat dry, almost like a term paper. Read morePublished 21 months ago by John K. Druitt
This was bay far the most comprehensive book on the history of poker and what poker has meant to our history.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer