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In the "fantasies: glamor" section of my mind, filed next to "hosting exclusive star-studded card-parties and making tons of money doing so," you'll find "developing a superpower where winning millions in Vegas is just another day at the office." Card-counting may not be an actual superpower, but it's a valuable skill to unleash in a casino, and reading about some kids who beat Vegas at its own game is underdog gold.
There aren't a ton of prominent women on the professional poker scene, so when one becomes the first person of any gender to win the European Poker Tour twice, it's a pretty big deal. Coren wrote this book before her second, record-setting win, but she was already an impressive figure and this funny, wry, very smart memoir of her life in and out of the game will charm you even if you aren't particularly poker-savvy.
Pulitzer prize-winning novelist and mediocre poker player Colson Whitehead is given $10,000 and an assignment by Grantland magazine: enter the World Series of Poker and see how far you can get. This is his story. Dunh dunh.
Molly ran into problems when she moved her operation from L.A. to N.Y., where illegal gambling interests fell within the purview of organized crime. Although the Sinatra Club was established well before Molly's time, this book gives some insights into the rise of illegal gambling dens, where the five families of the New York Mafia could meet to play cards and talk business without any meddling ladies taking a cut.
Like Whitehead, McManus attended the World Series of Poker as a journalist. Harper's hired him to report on female players and to cover a murder trial that was unfolding at the same time; the defendants accused of killing Ted Binion, the tournament's host. Instead McManus decided to enter the tournament himself, getting surprisingly far, and he wrote this book, which ended up not being very much about women in poker.
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You've been warned. Give your child these names and they'll be scarred for life.
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Iago: Don't be fooled by Aladdin's feathered friend, the original Iago is one of Shakespeare's most sinister villains who deceives and schemes, causing tragedy for others.
Grendel: It probably isn't high on your list anyway..., but give your kid this name and people will be expecting a man-eating monster. Not cool.
Cruella: Let's face it, people will always be a bit suspicious of a Cruella. And puppies will cower in her presence.
Estella: Miss Havisham is the real villainess here, but that'll never catch on as a first name. However, her adopted daughter, Estella, is raised to be cold, unfeeling, and cruel to men, so you might want to think twice about that name too.
Patrick: Wall Street investment banker by day, murdering sex maniac by night. He confesses at one point: "I like to dissect girls, did you know I'm utterly insane".