Seven Must Read Poker Biographies

Home » Poker News » Seven Must Read Poker Biographies
Seven Must Read Poker Biographies

If you are looking for some inspiration to play poker, look no further than this list of biographies and autobiographies written about some of the game’s most influential players, and the colorful lives they have led on their way to gaining poker fame, and in some cases notoriety.

One Of A Kind (Nolan Dalla, Peter Alson)

One of a Kind tells the story of perhaps the most talented player ever to play the game, the late, great Stu Ungar. The New York City native won 5 WSOP bracelets throughout his career, including back-to-back WSOP Main Event titles in 1980 and 1981, as well as a further Main Event victory in 1997. This book subsequently looks at the cycle of success and personal failures which would come to define his life as he wrestled with his own inner demons.

Poker Tilt (Dutch Boyd, Laurence Samuels)

Poker Tilt is a tale about one of poker’s first TV stars, Russ “Dutch” Boyd, who burst on the poker scene during the boom years. Amongst his many successes was winning 3 WSOP bracelets, as well as a deep run at the 2003 WSOP Main Event, where he eventually finished in 12th place for an $80,000 payday. Nevertheless, Boyd was a polarizing character in the poker world, with this biography pulling no punches as it lays bare his life, warts an all, in a brutally honest way. This includes Dutch Boyd’s bipolar condition, involvement in a well publicized poker scandal, and his failed internet poker website called Poker Spot.

Life’s A Gamble (Mike Sexton)

Life’s a Gamble details Mike Sexton’s life, who is most famously known as being the host of the World Poker Tour (WPT), although he recently left the tour to become the Chairman of partypoker. As well as doing more than most others to promote the game worldwide, Sexton is an accomplished pro with a WSOP and a WPT title to his name. As you might imagine, the 70 year old has numerous interesting stories to tell about his life, and the book is a fun read that also provides an insight into the Las Vegas gambling scene during the pre-boom era.

Forty Years A Gambler (George Devol)

Forty Years A Gambler is one ofthe first poker biographies ever written, and showcases the life of infamous Mississippi River gambler George Devol. He was known for fleecing people out of their winnings, and while some of the tales are somewhat exaggerated, they nonetheless make for some very interesting and exciting reading. Living such a risky life obviously came with many dangers, and as he explains:

“I don’t know just how thick my old skull is, but I do know that it is pretty thick, or it would have been cracked many years ago, for I have been struck some terrible blows on my head with iron dray-pins, pokers, clubs, stone-coal, and bowlders, which would have split any man’s skull wide open unless it was pretty thick.”

Check Raising the Devil (Mike Matusow, Tim Lavalli , Amy Calistri)

Check Raising the Devil is about Mike Matusow, one of the most talented and troubled people ever to play the game. Over the years, the 4-times WSOP bracelet winner has suffered from drug addiction, depression, and is famous for his numerous blow-ups around the poker table. This book then sheds light on the struggles he has faced throughout his life, with the narrative shown from his own perspective for the first time.

Titanic Thompson (Kevin Cook)

Titanic Thompson is a tale about the life of one of the most adept gamblers, golfers and hustlers of the last century. While Thompson has had many books written about him, this one goes further than any before in exploring his importance to gambling lore, and how he was able to use his ability to cheat, murder and hustle his way to monetary success.

Education Of A Poker Player (Herbert O. Yardley)

Education of a Poker Player is a story and part-time playing guide by Herbert O. Yardley, a heavy drinker, womanizer, and gambler, who was also an expert in cryptology, and worked as a code breaker for the US government. Yardley was a skilled poker player, too, who goes into great detail explaining how professional card players are able to prey on their amateur opponents.

Check out the above stories and get a feel for the lifestyles of these famous poker players and gamblers. Who knows–maybe someday you’ll go down in history with them and have your own biography.

New Jersey Online Casino Revenue Soars to New Height in September
Somerville and Neeme Join Forces to Grow Media Brands

Somerville and Neeme Join Forces to Grow Media Brands

October 12th, 2018 By Stephen Smith
Heather Alcorn Triumphs at 2018 WSOPC Southern Indiana Main Event
Tribal Casinos See Annual Upward Climb in Non-gaming Revenues

Tribal Casinos See Annual Upward Climb in Non-gaming Revenues

October 10th, 2018 By Charles Washington
Maryland Casinos Post Modest 7% Gain in September

Maryland Casinos Post Modest 7% Gain in September

October 8th, 2018 By Shane Larson