“The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King” by Michael Craig

Katie picked this up for me for my birthday and I read it in 48 hours flat.  It’s the story of a banker from Texas, Andy Beal, and how he discovered poker.  The story is interesting because Andy is a billionaire, and instead of working up through limits, he decided to simply study one kind of difficult poker and then challenge the world’s best pros at stakes they weren’t comfortable playing at.

After an initial foray to Vegas where he discovered the game, Andy Beal sat down and applied all the study he could to learning heads up Texas Hold’em.  In heads up, you are playing against only one other person.  It’s as much a game of psychology as anything else, and more than in any other form of poker, the cards can matter a lot if the players are evenly matched.

He setup a private poker room in his business and brought dozens of amateur and expert players to Texas to help him hone his strategy.  He returned several times to Vegas, playing for stakes that began at $10,000/$20,000 limit hold’em and finally up to $100,000/$200,000.  That means that every pot was probably going to be a million dollars.

In that final game, the group of pros that took him on (no one player had enough money) pooled $10 million and played one at a time from a common bankroll against Andy. 

Pick up the book, it’s well worth a read.