Welcome to my blog. I am Miriam Downey, the Cyberlibrarian. I am a retired librarian and a lifelong reader. I read and review books in four major genres: fiction, non-fiction, memoir and spiritual. My goal is to relate what I read to my life experience. I read books culled from reviews in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Bookmarks, and The New Yorker. I also accept books from authors and publicists. I am having a great time.
Hope you will join me on the journey.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Ship It Holla Ballas
By Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback
New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2013
The obscure title Ship It Holla Ballas turns out to be
the name of a group of online poker players. The subtitle says it all: “How a
bunch of 19-year-old college dropouts used the Internet to become poker’s
loudest, craziest, and richest crew.”
I have to admit at the outset I know nothing about poker, so
I was a bit amused when I was sent this book from the publisher. However, I do
know something about 19-year-olds, and their party-hard ways, having survived
the young adulthood of 3 children and 4 step-children and their significant
others. It was always comforting to remind myself that the concept of consequence is that last thing to develop in the human brain, and it develops in the male brain by about age 25.
This quick read is the story of online poker in its heyday
and the online poker forum that drew together some young men with too much time
and money on their hands. One of the students is from Michigan State (no
surprise to me since that is the place where 4 of our children went). The book
also discusses The World Series of Poker as it appears on ESPN and how these
young adults got drawn into the something for nothing culture. The authors note
that at the height of the Internet poker boom (2005-2008) one out of every five
college students was playing poker on the Internet.
My favorite line in the book is a description of two of the
founders of the online poker forum Two Plus Two: “Both men were enamored of
their own intelligence and dismissive of most social graces.” I know some guys
like that. The rest of the book is as breezy and cynical in tone.
Two movies came to mind as I was reading this book. One was
a documentary about a MIT professor who taught probability and took crews of
students to play blackjack in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. It was called Breaking Vegas and was based on the book
Bringing Down the House by Ben
Mezrich. The other is the movie based on the documentary—21 starring Kevin Spacey.
If you are at all interested in Las Vegas, poker, the rise
of the Internet and other aspects of young adult stupidity, I can recommend
this book. It is quick and fun. It showed up on Amazon’s list of best new books
in January, but I wouldn’t go that far.
The website of the Ship it Holla Ballas poker players.
The website says “The Ballas travel the world in search of sweet parties, hot
girls and play in some poker tournaments on the side.” http://www.shipitholla.net/