Authors Michael Kaplan and Brad Reagan are fairly well known in the poker world. Kaplan writes for several prominent magazines, almost exclusively on gambling, while co-author Reagan has a poker column in the Wall Street Journal. Much of the book has already been published elsewhere, first appearing in such magazines as Card Player and Cigar Aficionado, but Aces and Kings has given a new collective meaning to once completely independent stories.
Compared to most books on the subject, Aces and Kings is entirely unique. Many books on poker are written in a serious fashion with a major emphasis on strategy and theory, while this book offers nothing of the sort. It is a compilation of different stories and tales that offers the reader a chance to get to know their favorite players. Legends of the game, such as Puggy Pearson and Phil Ivey, were the inspiration for each chapter, and this book offers clever antidotes and pleasant reading through a series stories once told by the pros themselves.
The book itself is arranged in chronological order, examining the history of poker from its early days, through the glory days, and right up to its current state of media frenzy. They have done an incredible job of matching specific players to the times, and perhaps not since Fast Company has a book been able to school you on the history of poker in such an entertaining and accurate way. Whether you’re a fan of the players themselves or just the game of poker, the stories told in Aces and Kings are definitely worth your time.
There will some stories that you’ve probably already heard, and some new ones that you can’t wait to share with your friends. You’ll learn about things like Chip Reese’s encounter with the mob, and what people really have to say about Phil Hellmuth. You don’t even have to be a poker enthusiast to enjoy Aces and Kings, you just have to be a fan of a good stories with interesting characters.