March 16, 2010
Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker by James McManus
Most online grinders rarely consider the history of poker and its roots on the American frontier. A story perhaps more familiar to amateur players, moviegoers and historians, it is one of intrigue and legend. Cowboys Full does an excellent job of describing the stages of pokerâ€™s historical development, from European card games to the palatial riverboats of the Mississippi, from the wild west to the civil war, from the early days in Las Vegas to the modern era of massive WSOP fields. Reinforcing general trends with famous and interesting anecdotes, he weaves the tale of poker in an engrossing manner.
The history of poker was not a subject that I had ever spent much effort investigating; most of my attention thus far has been devoted to optimal strategies and tactics. While you wonâ€™t find any modern strategic advice in this book, you may certainly benefit from reading it. I found it to be a refreshing and enjoyable read which gave perspective to my current career and the state of poker on the whole. It also reinforced my anger towards those who forced the UIGEA into law, not only because of the underhanded way that they did so but because I now recognize even more that poker is a very important part of Americaâ€™s cultural history.