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Ship It Holla Ballas!: How a Bunch of 19-Year-Old College Dropouts Used the Internet to Become Poker's Loudest, Craziest, and Richest Crew Hardcover – January 15, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The only reason I opened it at all is the back cover features three of my favorite writers in what might be loosely categorized as this genre, James McManus, Michael Craig and Bruce Porter. While Grotenstein and Reback are not in the class of those three as non-fiction stylists, they got hold of a great story and have told it with honesty and insight. I don't know what they changed, I witnessed a few things in the book and heard about others, all seem to be described with as much accuracy as sincere recollection by the participants can give.
Contrary to the hype, this is not a story of kids "partying like rock stars." They party like middle-American conventioneers in Las Vegas, or like nerdy frat boys who came into a small windfall. They don't even party that much (adjusted for age and profession).Read more ›
Great nonfiction doesn't just tell a gripping story populated with vivid characters; it captures the texture of what it all felt like as it was happening. "Ship It Holla Ballas" does that. It's riveting to read about Good2CU, Raptor, Apathy, Durrrr (my favorite name), and their friends -- kids who suddenly find themselves making sick amounts of money gambling online and don't really know what to do next. Not surprisingly, they go a little nuts: strippers, Cristal, expensive cars, XBox360s in every room of the house, etc.
That stuff all makes for a rollicking, fun, at times cringe-inducing read. But don't write this off as a story about hedonistic kids. It's about something much bigger, something that's reshaping our society from top to bottom: applied statistics. In the same way that Billy Beane and his brethren rewrote the rules of baseball by using player performance metrics with greater predictive power, in the same way that Nate Silver rewrote the rules of political analysis by dumping "gut" in favor of hardcore analysis, the Ballas made fortunes and earned a seat at the table with poker's top pros (in some cases, taking their money) by developing a deeper understanding of the math of the game than the generation that came before them.
If that sounds dry the way I describe it, in the book it's anything but. From bad beats to quad-monitor configurations for playing 8 simultaneous sit 'n gos, the authors render the technical aspects of poker with such simplicity and clarity that you almost feel like you're an expert poker player yourself.Read more ›
Half a dozen people discover online poker and take their math skills to a level that other players don't even know exist. They make obscene amounts of money however how this money is made so easily is never described (the reader is left out of those conversations), but instead discussed among themselves either personally or posted on a website that will be familiar with those who have played for a living or at least took the time to play in more than a cursory way. (twoplustwo.com)
It is a fun easy read, but if you think you are going to learn anything about the game you are sadly mistaken. This is more of a study on how a bunch of underage kids achieved their wealth (it is impressive) and spent it on booze, weed and hookers, before the end offers redemption for most of those that inhabit these pages. Over the 300 pages the same story is told over and over again and I felt like I was trapped like a player seeing mundane hand after hand being dealt on a computer screen while reading observations that could have been made in 50 pages.
Real names are not used,only poker handles are bandied about and I am sure with a little research I could figure out who Good2cu, Raptor, and Durrrr, are in real life, but frankly by the end I knew who they "were" and really see no need to see who they are now. A few of them are very successful and they do seem wiser at 25 than at 18 and when online gambling becomes legal again in the near future there will be another group ready to replace these "dinosaurs" of the poker world.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this book, although I am admittedly biased. That said, I don't remember bieng quite so blase and ruse to Good2CU when we first talked, but I was really drunk, so maybe.Published 10 months ago by Daliman
Was a bit let down by this book. Like most relatively young males, I've had occasional daydreams of striking it rich through professional poker. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Adam
i thought this book was dull, didn't think the story was practical.Published 18 months ago by Rut Roh Scoobs
I don't know exactly what to make of the characters in this book but the insight into how much money they made in such a short time and how they did it was simply too entertaining... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Heath Y. Johnson
It's written in a very cut-and-dried manner but even so, you kinda get into the people after a while. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Santa's Elf