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Download Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binions World Series of Poker, by James McManus
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,408 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James McManus Narrator: James McManus Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the spring of 2000, Harper's magazine sent James McManus to Las Vegas to cover the World Series of Poker.

But when McManus sets foot in town, the lure of the tables is too strong: he proceeds to risk his entire Harper's advance in a long-shot attempt to play in the tournament himself. Only with actual table experience (he tells his skeptical wife) can he capture the hair-raising subtleties of poker that determines the world champion. The heart of the book is his deliciously suspenseful account of the tournament itself - the players, the hand-to-hand, and his own unlikely progress in it. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tim | 2/20/2014

    " An amazing book in a lot of ways, and a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in poker. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Daniel | 2/13/2014

    " James McManus stumbled onto a once-in-a-lifetime story when the Harper's editor, Lewis Lapham, sent him to Las Vegas to cover the 2000 World Series of Poker. McManus, who'd been an amateur card player for thirty years, decided to leverage his advance on the magazine article into a spot at the World Series. Not only did he win the satellite tournament to get in, but he also made it to the final table, bringing home a take of close to a quarter million dollars. The account of his run forms the heart of "Positively Fifth Street," a book-length expansion of the Harper's article. The writing comes alive when McManus describes his own experiences in the tournament. He paints accurate portraits of the pros around him--how good they truly are and how much skill and smarts go into their games. But luck can't be factored out completely, so we also see the uncertainty that hangs over every hand. The author describes all this, and his own part in it, with a self-deprecating wit that makes him a winning narrator. We find ourselves rooting for him, the little fish out of his depths, particularly when he ends up at the final table with T.J. Cloutier, whose how-to tome on poker McManus studied repeatedly before the tournament. Cloutier's annoyance at the underdog becomes evident, and he becomes a sort of foil for McManus. Ratcheting up the author's fears of losing everything are his thoughts of his family back in Chicago, particularly his wife, who is ambivalent about McManus's gambling. The book's main flaw is that it keeps drawing us away from the central narrative of the author's risky run to the final table. "Positively Fifth Street" could've been far more focused and a hundred pages shorter if McManus had eliminated the excess baggage. He bookends his account with details about a murder trial he was assigned to cover by Lapham, and while the writing here is dutiful, it is also less sure-footed. Adding to this are lengthy and unnecessary asides on the history of playing card design, the advantages and drawbacks of private strip-club dances, and book reviews of various poker manuals. One gets the sense McManus is attempting to provide a comprehensive account of the world of Las Vegas poker, but unfortunately he fails to tie the various strands together. Ultimately "Fifth Street" is a rewarding read if you don't mind mucking a few bad hands to get to the jackpot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Audra | 2/10/2014

    " While the look into the World Series of Poker is great, I so did not care about this guy's personal life. Every time he started talking about his wife, his kids, his guilt, lap dances and hanging out in vegas, I wanted to skip ahead to the card games. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Elizabeth Wright Korytkowski | 2/8/2014

    " It's strange that I chose this book because I'm not really a gambler, however I have to say that it was an interesting book overall because about 1/2 of the book is about the author entering the World Series of Poker and 1/2 of the book is about his investigation of the Binion murder. He switches back and forth throughout the book, so you don't get too bogged down in either aspect too deeply. When finished, I was really surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire story! "

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