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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 Audiobook, 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: May 2003 ISBN:
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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 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 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 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 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! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tom | 1/26/2014

    " I almost gave up on this one. Seemed like the author was trying to make up the worst things possible to keep the book going. He was not very successful. He went from phony to plain old silly and crude. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 blisster | 1/22/2014

    " It was okay. The poker scenes were great, and it was nice to read the action unfold with well written prose. I wasn't as interested in the murder mystery thread, which is why it was I didn't love the book. It did make me want to learn how to play Texas Hold'em. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mac | 1/16/2014

    " Sex, drugs, murder and the World Series of Poker, all set in Las Vegas would probably make for a fairly trite novel but as non fiction, it's a very interesting story written by a talented journalist who understands his subject matter. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 12/19/2013

    " My favorite book on Vegas and the WSOP "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Muchsarcasm | 11/29/2013

    " The parts involving his amazing run at the World Series of Poker were very interesting and insightful. The parts involving the Binion murder trial left me cold and disinterested. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alicia | 11/28/2013

    " This book is good about 75% of the time. It's full of tedious tangents, but the primary plot is compelling enough to keep you plugging along. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 thomas | 5/9/2013

    " If you have any interest in what goes on behind the scenes of the World Series of Poker this is the book for you. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 11/28/2012

    " I didn't like this as much as I'd hoped because I was expecting a story about poker but what I got was a story about James McManus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terye | 11/11/2012

    " Part true crime, part true gambling ... This was a great book for our book group. The author has a very clean, sharp writing style. I enjoyed him overlaping the trip to Las Vegas to research the Binions murder and his first foray into the world of high stakes poker. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 11/2/2012

    " Fascinating story about the world series of poker, Las Vegas, the Binion family, and the trial for the murder of Ted Binion. Wow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 10/14/2012

    " Fun book. Doesn't quite pull off the dovetailing of the murder investigation in Vegas (which bores comparatively) with his own antics at the World Series of Poker, but fun fun fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 JK | 5/9/2012

    " If you've ever gotten a high from winning with a kicker, then you will really enjoy this read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sasha | 12/24/2011

    " Memoir of how a writer covering the world series of poker became a player in the series he was supposed to cover... great if you like poker or las vegas intrigue "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linnea | 8/18/2011

    " A very entertaining poker memoir that helps explain what can be so compelling about the world of professional poker. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alicia | 4/16/2011

    " This book is good about 75% of the time. It's full of tedious tangents, but the primary plot is compelling enough to keep you plugging along. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clint | 4/14/2011

    " Fun read - Great insight into the poker tournament world and a wonderful true story of a brutal murder in Vegas. It gets better as you read it. Its all true and the author is a very personal and interesting writer "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 4/8/2011

    " Riveting. And that's from someone who still doesn't understand how to play Texas Hold'em. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kendar88 | 3/26/2011

    " Good story about Texas Hold'em. Didn't care as much for the mobster thread, but didn't hurt the book much. Very exciting parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 8/17/2010

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 6/18/2010

    " Fascinating story about the world series of poker, Las Vegas, the Binion family, and the trial for the murder of Ted Binion. Wow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 6/16/2010

    " Helps to understand the extreme popularity of Poker "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marshaferz | 5/31/2010

    " The writing is wonderful, the story compelling. I loved reading this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 5/17/2010

    " This was a great book, several really interesting and amazing stories that are actually true and interwoven, and told really well. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Muneer | 4/27/2010

    " This is a perfectly good book. I enjoyed the bits about Ted Binion's murder in the beginning, but lost interest when McManus began recounting his poker hands in excruciating detail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Terry | 4/20/2010

    " This is a man's book all the way. A manly book for manly men.
    Did I mention the full-bore masculinity of the book?

    I recommend this book to all guys who "don't read much."

    For good or ill, I loved it.

    :) "

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About the Author
Author James McManus

James McManus is the author of the bestselling poker tale Positively Fifth Street, as well as various other novels, including Going to the Sun, winner of the Carl Sandburg Award. In 2001 he received the Peter Lisagor Award for sports journalism. His writing appears in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Esquire, and Harper’s and has been widely anthologized. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.