This is a powerful, beautifully honest book about gambling against the house and almost losing everything, including family, love and lots of money. If you go to casinos, play the daily numbers, buy scratch tickets, read this book about a young man who played the game and got hooked. Gambling is a spreading, dangerous addiction. There is that dark but true joke that we took the land from various Native American tribes, but now those tribes, through their casinos, are taking the land back one house at a time.
I cannot recall reading a stronger, more honest and self-revealing book. Mr. Turbessi is a very courageous, self-aware writer. Lots of angst and passion here about sinking into the mire of gambling. All the traits are visible: the self-deceit, the lies and secrecy, the craziness that if you lose and bet more, eventually you'll win it all back. Mr. Turbassi throws money away on poker. He thinks he can read the other players when he can't even read himself. It's a tough book but it has to be. Gambling swallowed Joe Turbessi's life for years. And he didn't overcome gambling's devouring power. Mr. Turbessi knows there is no cure, just inner strength and self awareness, because the gambling demons are always inside, just waiting. This is a great book. I've read it three times. Mr. Turbessi can write with strong and clear observations. He's seen an unmatched deuce and a seven, but this time he won't bet on it. Do you know someone who is addicted to gambling? This is the book to read.
If you want an eloquent expose' on the world of gambling addiction, this is not the book. However, if you are a gambler (specifically poker) that is suffering, the book is a pretty straight-up look on the sickness and false world ESPN and the poker world pushes on us. Turbessi's anger and immaturity dance frantically across the page, despite the uneven writing.
I'll start by saying that I understand people have addictions. This book is written by a local guy where I live and I wont deny being against his opinion from the start. I was a winning online player up until the point where the government shut everything down. I did decide to read the book to get a more objective view of things. Poker is not to blame for his losses, though. He says multiple times in the book that he is a "good player" but he never bothered to learn the basics of managing a bankroll. Any real poker player that is in the game to win money understands that nobody is going to make the cards do their bidding. Any real player that understands the math of poker like this author claims, can understand the simple fact that you need to allow yourself a proper amount of money (normally at least 20 buy ins) to account for the variance that the game does dish out. If you're playing 2/5nl you should have at least a 15000 dollar bankroll so when you do lose you don't want to jump off a bridge or not be able to pay your bills. If you can't afford to have that many buy ins, you shouldn't be playing in that level. This guy pretty much would take his measly waiter tips and run to the casino to try and get rich. This is not pokers fault at all. He spends tons of time in this book trying to blame the people that make poker accessible to the masses and the actual game of poker, when really he needs to just blame himself for not being able to control his own fate. Again, maybe he couldn't help himself but this is not pokers fault. Many people have been more than able to harness their own skills and not let the lure of riches get the best of them. Poker on its own is not at fault for the way people decide to blow their money. It is a game that tons of people have beaten. I'm sorry Joe, but you were never a good player at all. You telling yourself that you were and that it was the games fault is not the truth. I have known more than a few people like you and they all end up telling the same sob stories about losing thousands in hands just because a guy hit quads to their full house, but the problem is you set yourself up for failure from the start. You sat at a limit and didn't understand how the game worked at all. If you had good skill, you could've sat at 1/2 tables every time and crushed them, and in doing so built yourself an acceptable roll to play at a higher limit. You tried to take the easy way, and everyone knows there is no easy way to getting rich.