“The definitive book on the history of the game.” – Poker News Daily
“With a huge knowledge of the game to draw on; at times, in its weaving together of anecdote and observation, it produces the sensation you might get from contemplating a work of art. McManus is a first-rate writer: controlled, sensitive, precise and compelling.”
Cowboys Full traces the story of poker from its roots in China, until Americans took what was a French parlour game and turned it into a national craze by the time of the American Civil War.
Poker has been inextricably linked with American history ever since. It has been played by numerous presidents (Richard Nixon financed his first campaign office through his poker winnings) and has been used as a political tool to explain policy, for networking, and to negotiate treaties.
Poker echoes how we conduct wars and do business: cheating and bluffing, leveraging uncertainty, managing risk and reward. In the past poker was thought to be a cheater’s game, but it has since become a mostly honest contest of cunning, mathematics and luck. It is the world’s most popular card game and has had an immense impact on popular culture.
Combining colourful history with the author’s own personal experience of the 2000 World Series of Poker (where he won $250,000), Cowboys Full introduces all major forms of poker, the game’s most notorious players, and demonstrates how poker has informed military, diplomatic and business life for centuries.
“An attempt, triumphantly realised, at a definitive history. The narrative fizzes along through 500-plus pages, packed with arresting anecdotes… Don’t bet on anyone bettering this classic account.”
‘Independent on Sunday’
“Zips along with great verve… An entertaining and informative read… The author’s wit, wisdom and genuine passion for his subject ensure that the book is certainly no busted flush.”