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Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire--and How It All Came Crashing Down . . .
     

Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire--and How It All Came Crashing Down . . .

3.4 15
by Ben Mezrich
 

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The larger-than-life true tale of how a few frat brothers from Montana turned a weekly poker game in a dive bar into one of the most lucrative online companies in history

ased on extensive insider interviews, Ben Mezrich—bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House—chronicles the creation of AbsolutePoker

Overview

The larger-than-life true tale of how a few frat brothers from Montana turned a weekly poker game in a dive bar into one of the most lucrative online companies in history

ased on extensive insider interviews, Ben Mezrich—bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House—chronicles the creation of AbsolutePoker.com, including the company's initial operations in the jungle paradise of Costa Rica where its founders lived an outrageous lifestyle of girls, parties, and money; and of the gray area of U.S. and international law in which they created an industry. Soon, the U. S. Department of Justice was gunning for them. . . . Should they fold—or double down and ride their hot hand? Impossible to put down, Straight Flush is an exclusive, never-before-seen look at one of the wildest business stories of the Internet age.

Editorial Reviews

The Oregonian
“The reigning cowboy of creative nonfiction.”
New York Times
“A near-perfect specimen of pulp nonfiction.”
Booklist
The action is nonstop. ... Mezrich follows [the] friends from their University of Montana frat house to Costa Rica and Canada as the young entrepreneurs’ extravagant lifestyle of booze, fast cars, and hot women spirals into death threats, auto accidents, 24-hour bodyguards, and federal indictments.”
Boston Globe
“Engrossing. ... I can’t wait for the movie.”
Publishers Weekly
Mezrich (author The Accidental Billionaires, the basis for the film The Social Network) displays his well-established storytelling chops in this brisk narrative of the rise and fall of an Internet gaming empire that stars six frat brothers from Montana. The tale opens in 2011 with Brent Beckley’s surrender in a Costa Rican airport to an American official. While not convinced of the illegality of his acts, Beckley admits that “maybe we were stupid.” The scene returns to the beginning at the SAE house on the University of Montana campus in 1997, where principals Garin Gustafson, Pete Barovich, Shane Blackford, and Scott Tom are introduced. After graduation, Tom’s enthusiasm for poker inspires him to create Absolute Poker, an online poker site. As the money flows in, Blackford suffers a breakdown and two different cheating scandals mar their success. Ultimately, the question of legality dogs them. In 2006, the men flee corporate offices that they have set up in Vancouver when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begins an investigation. The passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act in the same year ultimately spells their downfall. Readers curious about fast-living frat boys with questionable judgment will enjoy this debauched business saga. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062240101
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/20/2014
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
407,212
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Ben Mezrich graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991. He has published twelve books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network, and Bringing Down the House, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies in twelve languages and became the basis for the Kevin Spacey movie 21. Mezrich has also published the national bestsellers Sex on the Moon, Ugly Americans, Rigged, and Busting Vegas. He lives in Boston.

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Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire--and How It All Came Crashing Down . 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In general I enjoy Mezrich's writing style and usually his subject matter; I just feel the focus of this book was off. He spent too much time on the lifestyle his subject matter lived, and not enough of the actual impact this company and people had on the lives of ordinary poker players and likely their other employees. I felt that he could have done a better job vetting their story, which as other have pointed out are some major problems with. I think he let the founders off the hook too much, and just took their word for it. While this may have been what was possible in his other books, I feel as though he could have done some real important work uncovering what exactly happened at this company. The last part of his book seems to be rushed, and really focused on putting blame on the DoJ, while ignoring important business decisions the founders made which likely resulted in their ultimate collapse. Overall, I am disappointed with the effort in documenting this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I used to enjoy playing on these poker sites and it was a mystery why the FBI just shut them down.  This is a great read into what happened and how it almost worked!
jrhardee More than 1 year ago
About halfway through the book, I realized that nothing had happened in a long time, aside from frat boys living in squalor, frat boys getting falling-down drunk and frat boys finding themselves surrounded by hookers--that they can actually sleep with if they pay them! Hubba hubba! Then I realized nothing had really happened at all. Online poker sites already existed--they just wanted a nicer one. They collected money from Daddy's friends and paid some Korean contractors to write the code. Zzzz.... I never finished the book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems like it was written in a hurry. It does not flow well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take this to the beach of the pool this summer and you will finish it in one weekend if not one day. Excellent read from end to end with well developed characters, scandals, and a story that at times seems completely unbelievable. Worth your time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read several of his other books and although this is not my favorite, it is still a good read. Apparently this book has already been made into a movie, as I recently saw the trailer for it, even before I received the book. This book is not written in the breathless excitement style like some of the others were and I missed that element of the writing, but the story is a solid one and the various characters' tales are worth telling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this story about Internet Poker during its infancy was extremely entertaining, especially as poker peaked my interest along with so many guys in my age group back in the mid-2000's, I found something missing with this book. I didn't feel like I got to know all of the characters, they just blended into 1 person, and I felt like there were large gaps in the story. All in all, a good read, but with the story that was there, felt like this should have been a Straight Flush, not just a pair of Jacks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hector7478 More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Mezrich's work and each time I read his books, I finish them in a few days.  This story is something I completely forgot about, until I heard Ben on Jim Rome talking about it. The story is a bit dry, it doesn't pack the punch that Accidental Billionaires does, but it's a good read. Not his best work by any stretch, but a good book nonetheless.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a fan of  Mezrich's book Bringing Down the House, however Straight Flush is like all the rest since, trying to capture what was great about that story, and like all the rest it doesn't. What these guys did in this story isn't worthy of a book as it gets very dry too often and was hard to keep my interest.  Maybe the movie will be better, but frankly I don't see what narrative even that could take to keep it interesting.  Accidental Billionaires was a instance where the movie was WAY better than the book, and that's thanks to the genius of Aaron Sorkin. This author needs to stop churning out what are basically the same stories over and over.