Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Start of a Very Worrying Trend?

Just back from Vegas (ok, ok it was over a week ago, but with Christmas preparations etc the blog hasn't been top priority...) and while out there I witnessed something I hadn't seen for a few years and I hope it isn't the harbinger of the future.

It used to be the ritual if you sat down with a very minor poker celebrity in a small cash game at Vegas, the celeb would reach under their chair, pull out a very battered bag and proffer the newcommer a copy of usually a well thumbed book about poker and encourage you to hand over some of your hard earned to buy a copy.

For a while everyone was at it.

A mate of mine came up with the ultimate put down once. He was sitting in a $6-$12 game at the Mirage reading a copy of Oklahoma Johnny Hale's autobiography when he wasn't involved in a hand.

The self styled "First Lady of Poker" Susie Isaacs (She's been called several other, less flattering names too) sat in Ian's game. Her eyes lit up when she saw Ian's head buried in a poker book. "I see you like poker books", she said "have a look at mine, it's just been published." And passed him a copy. He spent about 0.01 seconds flicking through it and passed it back.

"Very interesting" he said.

"Perhaps you would like to buy a copy? They are only $15." She begged.

"No thanks." Ian replied.

"Why not?"

"Because I'm only interested in reading famous players thoughts. And I've never heard of you"

She stomped off without playing a hand. Very funny. But 5 or 6 yeas ago everyone was at it. McEvoy, Cloutier, Buntjer, Ciaffone, Baldwin and Brunson to name but afew. The books were of very variable quality, but you could be sure to pick up a copy at your local cardroom.

The fad died out. But in Vegas this time the old bag full of books trick was in operation again.

This time it was Ron Rose doing the hawking. Rose is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the WPT cult of fame when a player doesn't deserve it. He is a very moderate poker player (and a whinger in the extreme) who happened to get lucky in a WPT event when the field were tiny and found himself a poker celebrity.

His book "Poker Aces" further promotes poker players as neo celebs. He profiles the history of about 100 famous players. I doubt very much if he details the child assault case of Amarillo Slim, the cheating allegations against Doyle Brunson, Men the Master and others, the disgraceful behaviour at the table of John Bonetti or the fact David Benyamine in barred from entering and Amir Vahedi is barred from leaving the USA. The fact is, I wouldn't trust about 15 of the "Poker Aces" with a the keys to my house because I would be worried it would ransacked.

I haven't read the book. But, it doesn't take a genius to work out it is almost certainly sycophantic claptrap and should be avoided at all costs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I luv Ron Rose's work.He is a super stud(or is that star)
Rosie Rose

5:42 PM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

Susie Isaacs tried to sell me that book twice. They say the great players never forget a face :-)


3:16 AM  
Blogger Withnail said...

Especially yours Andy!

Merry Xmas!


3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lionel here, sounds like sour grapes to me Camel, i take it your not in it! Methinks you should do a european version of the great book, imagine a handy reference guide when you wanted to explain the difference between Malcolm Robinson and Malcolm Wiggy from Luton or the difference between the nipping skills of vic players v luton players and those that can crossover at both levels. In fact you could get the nippers to sell it for you on a sort of 'big-issue' basis, a cut for you and a cut for them?

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a copy of Ron's work and find it a nice coffee table book. I don't see the harm in players getting publicity and even a little celebrity through books.

I cannot find you in there though Camel, nevermind, Frey Bentos are sure to come knocking one day!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brilliant Keith!!
keep telling it like it is.
Ron rose won 3 tournaments at a festival in Paris a few years ago which was about as likely as Foinavon winning backtoback eurovision song contests and still whinged like fuck when he lost a tossup after getting his dough in calling!!

5:30 PM  

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