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Author Topic: Book Review/Competition Devilfish: The Life and Times of a Poker Legend.  (Read 6321 times)
TightEnd
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« on: August 04, 2010, 11:28:24 AM »

Devilfish: The Life and Times of a Poker Legend

Penguin £12.99

Pre-order via blonde Amazon link for £9.09

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Devilfish-Life-Times-Poker-Legend/dp/067091889X?&camp=2486&linkCode=wsw&tag=blondepoker-21&creative=8942


A Booker Prize winner it is not. What it is though is a rollicking good read, an autobiography of one of the players who took poker to the masses in the UK and is still an instantly recognisable figure on the World Poker scene having first hit the UK circuit in the early 1990s and Vegas in 1996.

Right from the Introduction you get an immediate feel that the book is not exactly going to be written in a self-effacing style. This is a man with an ego, and a sense of his own importance and the writing style (ghost-written I think, but true to the character and speaking style of the man) confirms this through the book.

It is a book of two halves. The first half is a real roller-coaster ride. Ulliott's childhood in Hull, early introductions to gambling, a fledgling boxing career, the wrong side of the tracks via crime as a Safecracker, two spells in jail, homelessness, setting up as a Pawnbroker and then, ultimately, discovering Poker. This intense story is told with amusing, honest and detailed anecdotes. Despite the ego, this is a man who can recognise his own failings and character flaws and I found the first half of the book quite intriguing for that. We're given a peep into the real man, and his gambling addictions, and not just the public persona but the frustration is that it is only a tantalising glimpse before the ego and sense of self-importance re-assert themselves.

Mid-book we are given the blow-by-blow account of how Devilfish started off in small games in hull, ventured out into cash games in leeds and then onto the UK circuit. From there, having amassed a £100,000 bankroll (in 1997 money) the story moves to Vegas and the World Series and the extreme highs and lows of a relatively old school gambler meeting a Poker world moving out of the back rooms into respectability.

These highs and lows are also fascinating reading. In 1997 Devilfish wins the Four Queens Omaha Classic on his second trip across, and clears a six figure profit on his trip. A year later, he enters a WSOP event $260,000 in the hole including $60,000 to a bondsman he happens to have befriended on the trip. Pressure on, he wins the last event he can enter with case borrowed money, gets out of it and wins a bracelet. It's compelling stuff.

In terms of poker content this is not a book for hand analysis and poker theory. Yes there are some key hands but not for this book, aimed at the occasional poker enthusiast in keeping with Devilfish's profile as much as the hard core poker player, the minutiae of tournament strategy. Instead you get a thorough picture of a poker career through the bigger picture of a journey towards the profile the man has now.

From the first trips to Vegas, you get Devilfish's accounts of the seminal "Late Night Poker" series. An entertaining account of the programmes that of course took poker in the UK into the mainstream. Indeed Devilfish dedicates the book amongst others to LNP's Rob Gardner who "made all this possible". From there, Devilfish in the 2000s. TV programmes, online site, public image pretty much a caricature of the persona he created for himself. After the LNP description the book very nearly faded away, but is rescued by those glimpses again. The end of another marriage, the death of his father and then the Epilogue. I feared the epilogue would be self-reverential. An ode to himself. Far from it though. It's realistic, thought-provoking and careful not to transfer his own good fortune into the likelihood of anyone else reading the book being the recipient of the same.
  
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 01:11:10 PM by TightEnd » Logged

It's looking like a limb torn off
Or altogether just taken apart
We're reeling through an endless fall
TightEnd
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 01:14:20 PM »

Thanks to the publishers blonde will have three copies of the book to give away to forum members.


Competition time then



Question: Why did Devilfish's landlady evict him from his lodgings in the late 1960s? (this was after his second spell inside, and before his Pawnbroking business, not that that matters especially!)


I'll put any correct answers, or the funniest incorrect answers, in a big hat and choose three and announce the winners when the copies arrive.
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GreekStein
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2010, 02:17:38 PM »

He stole from her syrup shop?
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 02:24:57 PM »

He forgot to pay his rent? Please please let the answer be this obvious.
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AlexMartin
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010, 03:41:34 PM »

wait..... this is the same as his 1st book?

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hector62
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2010, 04:02:34 PM »

She caught him in bed with 2 women.
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riverdave
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2010, 06:26:45 PM »

She caught him in bed with 2 women underage girls.
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StuartHopkin
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2010, 06:43:24 PM »

She staked him in to some online comps, he binked and then did the money at PLO. She wasnt happy as he was in make up plus rent arrears, so she kicked him out. Wink
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2010, 07:40:35 PM »

he gambled all his money on the gee gees and couldnt afford the rent, so he offered to sleep with her as payment for rent and she threw him out
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2010, 07:51:58 PM »

He missed church on Sunday as he was 'stuck' in a game from Saturday night
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2010, 09:11:41 PM »



People keep on ringing up and asking for "The Devil"  she got scared and kicked him out
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LeedsRhodesy
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2010, 09:13:06 PM »

She staked him in to some online comps, he binked and then did the money at PLO. She wasnt happy as he was in make up plus rent arrears, so she kicked him out. Wink

only river  RiverDave would do that
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Laxie
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2010, 11:21:57 PM »

He nicked the money from her safe to pay his rent.
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 11:27:49 PM »

he ate the family rabbit.
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 11:54:11 PM »

Because he burgled his neighbours.
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