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Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire--and How It All Came Crashing Down . . . Hardcover – May 28, 2013

2.8 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The reigning cowboy of creative nonfiction.” (The Oregonian)

“A breakneck retelling of how a bunch of closely knit fraternity brothers built an online poker empire. … Fast-paced and wild.” (Kirkus)

“A near-perfect specimen of pulp nonfiction.” (New York Times)

The action is nonstop. ... Mezrich follows [the] friends from their University of Montana frat house to Costa Rica and Canada as the young entrepreneurs’ extravagant lifestyle of booze, fast cars, and hot women spirals into death threats, auto accidents, 24-hour bodyguards, and federal indictments.” (Booklist)

“Engrossing. ... I can’t wait for the movie.” (Boston Globe)

About the Author

Ben Mezrich graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991. Since then he has published twelve books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network, and Bringing Down the House, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies in twelve languages and became the basis for the Kevin Spacey movie 21. Mezrich has also published the national bestsellers Sex on the Moon, Ugly Americans, Rigged, and Busting Vegas. He lives in Boston.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062240099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062240095
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
These guys funded their entire business and lifestyle by cheating poker players with a tool that enabled them to see opponents holdings. They siphoned millions from their own customers until they got careless and were caught. Then it all went downhill from there. Wanted by United States DOJ, but unfortunately may never get prosecuted for the theft because online poker for money is a grey area in the land of the free. The real story would've been even better but bad guys can't win in the movies and that's probably Ben Mezrich's goal. Calvin Arye or Poker Stars would've been a much smarter decision if he wanted to tell a true story of the rise and fall of the industry because they really earned that rise and he could've legitimately glamorized them.
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Format: Hardcover
Ben Mezrich's new book, "Straight Flush," is a gigantic literary fraud foisted upon the reading public by an author with a decade-long history of fudging the details. This represents his most extreme effort in that regard, a bald and phony retelling of the Absolute Poker story from, as Mezrich himself disclaims, the "point of view" of the U. of Montana fratboys who founded the company. With a single deft phrase, Mezrich thus shields himself from the 300 pages of garbage he then proceeds to spew.

The problem is, the actions of those same fratboys were criminal, even if only one of them (Brent Beckley) currently sits in prison, while the primary founder, Beckley's stepbrother Scott Tom, remains on the Caribbean island of Antigua rather than face the charges still pending against him. In "Straight Flush", Mezrich willingly recounts the fratboys' paper-thin lies while glorifying a decade or more of juvenile, sexist debauchery, punctuated by "amazonian" fantasies and re-imagined dialogue so horrific it could've come from an R-rated version of The Secret Lives of Dobie Gillis where all the women don't actually have names.

Mezrich's rapid discarding of any facts that don't fit his whitewashing of the AP tale represent the most horrid example of literary amorality to be published in recent years.
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Format: Hardcover
ben mezrich has been lambasted in the past because of how much creative liberty he has taken with his books, regularly twisting the story to tell whatever tale he wants. even if it means going directly against the actual story he is trying to retell. "bringing down the house" and "breaking vegas" are great examples of this. there are wikipedia pages comparing the books to the actual series of events they are depicting, detailing how much of mezrich's writing is just a straight up fabrication.

ben is taking a lot of heat from the poker community for making scott tom and the main men behind absolute poker look as though they are some sort of heros who were wrongly persecuted by the DOJ. yes, online poker SHOULD be legal, very few people are going to read this book and disagree that if you want to gamble in the comfort of your own home, you should be able to. however, the DOJ as 100% justified in shutting down a company as shady as absolute poker, who stole MILLIONS from their customers, covered it up, and then couldn't pay out their own customers when the site was shut down because (surprise!) the owners (scott tom, et al) STOLE ALL THE MONEY! they took all the money out of the company coffers, and left the players with nothing.

ben mezrich wants you to believe the DOJ is the cause for players not being paid back when it's plain as day that all the $ was stolen and that scott tom is THE ONE AND ONLY cheater/stealer of the funds. but go ahead, waste your time, read this trite book full of lies and enjoy the 7th grade writing style of a man who has no ethics or morals whatsoever.
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Format: Hardcover
How this piece of literary work (andi use that term VERY loosely) could ever be billed as a "true story" is totaly beyond me. it seems mr. Mezrich doesn't care about facts in the slightest. his portrayal of these scumbags is not based in fact in any way shape or form,with the possible exception of how they partied it up. (of course leaving out the fact that the money used to do so, was stolen from innocent players) Amazon should use due diligence, and require him to remove his "true story" billing and put this book into the fiction section post haste. if your looking for a poorly writen, overly dramatic book of lies, then you might enjoy this book. otherwise I would suggest passing on this one. two thumbs down. (more if I had more thumbs)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a good summer read at the beach, I suggest you avoid this hastily written book that is short on details and long on fraternity boy humor and international hookers. The book seemed in a hurry to get done, often skipping 6 months to a year and many details about starting/running the company, very simplistic look at business from a HBS graduate. While I realize it was told from the point of view of the frat boys, this book had a definitive anti US, anti Republican angle to it, making Brent out to be some sort of hero falsely pursued by the US government. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid, big disappointment from Mezrich
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