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Lawyers' Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195182439
ISBN-10: 019518243X
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lubet, a law professor, sees much in common between the human drama of the courtroom and the poker table, and he points out the ways that lawyers can benefit from studying strategies employed by good poker players. The book is divided into suits: diamonds representing maximizing winnings; clubs signifying controlling the opposition; spades, digging for information; and hearts, ethics and character. Going beyond using poker playing as a metaphor, within each section Lubet plumbs the lessons that can be learned from the game that can be transferred to the courtroom. The underlying principle is to distinguish between those who play the odds and those who gamble. Interspersed throughout, Lubet offers real-life experiences of gamblers playing the odds at poker and lawyers in historically significant cases gambling on particular legal strategies in their cases. Highly insightful and entertaining, this book brings a fresh perspective on the law and gambling. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review


"Lubet deals a winning hand with this entertaining and creative approach to gamesmanship. Anyone who negotiates, strategizes or bluffs--and who doesn't--will benefit from this great read. You won't be able to keep a poker-face when you read this funny and informative book."--Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


"A most clever mingling of the likes of legendary poker player Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson, with the master legal tactician Clarence Darrow. Juxtaposing the color and strategies of poker playing greats with the mastery of great lawyers in "trials of the century" creates a fascinating read for a gambler, lawyer, or just the average Joe."--Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor, City of Las Vegas


"Steven Lubet creatively weaves together two ostensibly unconnected worlds. Highlighted by anecdotes from some of the greatest arguments in American trial history, coupled with memorable hands in the World Series of Poker, Lawyers' Poker provides illuminating insights into strategic decisions in courtrooms and card tables across America."--Kenneth W. Starr, Dean and Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law


"What a great read--the trial lawyer's lessons are precisely the same as the skilled poker player's--the reader learns about history in both domains and smiles while being educated and entertained. This is a book for practitioners in the courtroom or the cardroom or those that want to be--or envy--either one. It is a true collector's piece!"--Rikki Klieman, Court TV Anchor, trial attorney and best selling author


"Lawyers' Poker is clear, entertaining and educational. It is a treasure trove of valuable lessons in competent trial advocacy, the art of negotiation and ethics--all told in a page-turning, storytelling fashion. As a bonus, the reader will also be introduced to the art of poker playing! Indeed, the parallels drawn are accurate. Both the neophyte and seasoned lawyer will love this book."--Thomas A. Demetrio, Corboy & Demetrio, Member of the Inner Circle of Advocates


"Lawyers' Poker is a fascinating read, as with great wit, skill and clarity Lubet moves from the poker room to the courtroom with impressive knowledge of the operation of both venues. As a veteran cross-examiner, I found Lubet's thesis "straight" and his book "flush" with clever insight. Indeed, I "bet" I could argue the case he makes to a "full house"."--Benjamin Brafman, criminal defense lawyer


"Professor Lubet's insights about poker (and life) will make you a far better trial lawyer. I loved the book."--Lawrence J. Fox, former Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility


"Every lawyer should play his cards right by reading Lubet's book. It's a safe bet the reader will come away with some great lessons in a courtroom and maybe even a tip or two at the card table."--Robert A. Clifford, former Chair, ABA Section of Litigation


"Any attorney who has ever tried a case or who aspires to be a litigator will want to read this book and learn more about how success at the poker table and winning in the courtroom are related. Reading Lawyers' Poker is a complete treat."--Trial Magazine


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019518243X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195182439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,138,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Webster on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lawyers' Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card PlayersSteven Lubet's book will be very valuable to mediators and negotiators. Even though poker is a zero sum game, every mediator or negotiator faces a zero sum game: can we find the zone of agreement?

Where Steven's book is valuable, and this is what I concentrated on in my longer review on bizop.ca, is that every negotiator has to figure out how strong the other party believes his own case is, how strong I believe that the other party's case is, and various permutations of the "recursive reasoning".

No less an authority than the Nobel Prize Winner Professor Thomas Schelling has also endorsed Lubet's characterization of a lawyer has someone who has to solve the "recursive" reasoning problem.

Poker gives very clear examples of how to solve this strategic thinking.

Steven Lubet doesn't claim that all lawyers need to know can be learned from poker players, but he does provide clear and compelling examples of how poker players think strategically and his legal examples are enlightening.

Generally, I would characterize Steven Lubet's book as a contribution to that part of cognitive science which focuses on the interaction between heuristics and rational thought in decision theory. And as such it is both unique and valuable.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a rare book about an esoteric subject which the author has made clearly understandable for a wide audience of readers. Every one who faces the misfortune to become involved in the legal process should make this their first read. It helps one understand the games lawyers play with the fates and lives of their clients, opponents, judges and juries. Those not so unfortunate will appreciate the transfer of densely packed knowledge in an extremely lively and memorable package. Those who don't understand the allure of poker will gain appreciation for the game as a model for life situations.
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Lubet's book is thought-provoking, instructive, and entertaining. The similarities between litigation and poker are evident to every litigator, but Professor Lubet's accounts of various poker maneuvers and strategies will cause even the most seasoned litigator to reexamine conventional thinking. One example: the traditional strategy in defending a deposition is to limit the deponent's responses as much as possible. Professor Lubet suggests the contrary-that showing your cards in a deposition may increase the pot because 90 percent of cases settle rather than proceed to trial.

Similarly, the early raise (presenting substantial discovery early in the case) even if a bluff (because counsel does not have the resources to consider proceeding to trial), can pay dividends.

Whether the reader is a card player or not, Professor Lubet achieves the difficult task of presenting poker big game moves in an understandable but exciting way. This book is a valuable, entertaining read for every litigator. The uninitiated poker player will have a new found respect for the game.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only thing more fantastic than this book is its author (Steven Lubet, whose other writings can be frequently found online). They are both awesome! Thanks to Professor Lubet's outstanding book "Lawyers' Poker," I have already won lots of large poker pots and am about to win a big litigation case. My only regret is that, one day, this book might fall into the hands of my (more-skillful) opponents. But, until then, I will always have the upper hand!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Inexperienced poker players often mistake poker for a game of chance. In fact, good players recognize that good hands and bad hands even out after many hands. It is the skill with which they play that separates losers from their money.

The advocacy system of law in the USA can appear too much of a game of chance to outsiders. However, Steven Lubet uses poker as a metaphor and guide to the methods behind the apparent madness of lawyerly questions and argument. The writing style is elegant without drowning in complicated language or "legalese." The author's dry wit is an added joy.
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Format: Hardcover
The author is a law professor and writer of a textbook on trial advocacy (Modern Trial Advocacy: Analysis and Practice). In this book, the author contends that tactics used in poker can be adapted to provide lawyers with various ideas to improve their law practice inside and outside a courtroom. Using numerous examples from poker playing and the practice of law, the author presents an entertaining and informative look at the practice of law and legal advocacy from a perspective very different from that usually taken in most law textbooks and practice manuals.

The primary audience for the book is lawyers, but law students and paralegal assistants could find the book informative and useful. Although the book is written in a lively and engaging style that many non-lawyers would find readable, it is written in a manner that assumes the reader is knowledgeable about the legal profession and the practice of law. I recommend this book for anyone interested in a different perspective on the practice of law. Persons involved in mediation, arbitration, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution also might find this book worth reading.
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