Through the explosion of televised poker a large number of new faces have been thrust into the the public spotlight. In just a few years people such as Howard Lederer and Chris Moneymaker have goneNick Christenson is widely regarded as one of the best gambling book reviewers publishing today. He is a contributor for Poker Player magazine, and has published in Full-Tilt and Gambling Times. He is also the editor of the very funny 'Casino Death Watch,' which chronicles the comings and goings of casinos in Las Vegas. He is an avid poker and blackjack player. Nick's website is www.jetcafe.org/~npc/ from obscurity to becoming household names. Despite an increased familiarity with these new celebrities' poker prowess, the public knows almost nothing about these people away from the table. Poker Aces, by fellow poker celebrity Ron Rose, aims to remedy this.
Poker Aces provides about 90 profiles of well-known tournament poker personalities focusing on those who have had success, and thus become familiar, through televised poker events. Each vignette provides two pages (about 700 words) worth of background information, personal profile, and poker accomplishments. Basically, Rose's book is a program for televised poker tournaments.
The book is presented in a full-size format, 11.5 by 9 inches, so that there's enough space for each two page bio to explore its subject in at least a little depth. Each feature includes at least two photographs of its subject. Most of the photos are of high quality, and in all cases the transfer process was executed well leading to a visually pleasing result.
Some of these folks have remarkable backgrounds. Many of these players have had considerable success in other fields, and some of them count themselves lucky just to be alive, much less viable as a high-stakes poker player. Those players whom I know are generally covered pretty well, and I learned interesting information about many of those with which I was less familiar. The bio pieces in this book present the players in a quite favorable light. Although some of the shadows hanging over more controversial players are discussed, the material in Poker Aces is primarily positive about each player. That's not at all inappropriate, but those readers who are hopeful that Rose would be airing dirty laundry are likely to be disappointed.
With a book of this nature it would be surprising if there were no controversy over the selection of its subjects. Rose has tried to provide a reasonable balance between the best known players on both the American and European circuits. Despite this, there are some players who are conspicuous by their absences and a few where I'm a bit surprised by their presence. Some players who aren't profiled in this book elected not to participate, some had schedules that couldn't be accommodated, and some are editorial choices. Assuming televised poker continues to flourish there will be many new faces such that a good case could be made for a second volume of Poker Aces. If this comes to pass I would hope that some of the more obvious omissions from this first volume could be included in the second.
Poker Aces achieves exactly what author Ron Rose intends. This book serves as an attractive, interesting repository of background information for some of the more prominent faces that have come to be known through the breakthrough of televised poker. Potential readers for whom this sounds like an interesting proposition will almost certainly be pleased with Rose's effort. I'm more than willing to recommend this book on this basis.
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