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The Armchair Education of a Poker Player

by Jennifer Mason |  Published: Feb 01, 2011


I was recently given a copy of Herbert O. Yardley’s 1957 poker book The Education of a Poker Player. Perhaps because it was delivered from Amazon with the unexpected and rather amusingly ambiguous inscription, “Dearest Richard, Hope you enjoy this as much as Ian Fleming, Love from Your Mother”, I already felt as if this sort of book, part memoir, part instructional manual, probably finds its way into a lot of people’s collections because there is something timeless at its core. At times anecdotal, at times didactic, this depiction of a poker lifestyle so different from its image today has a strange appeal. Reading the slim volume and marvelling at the seedy glamour of the early professional card players’ lives (Real spies! Real assassins! Literal betting of the farm!) it was clear how the perception and form of the game has changed hugely in just two generations. Each section is ...

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