Cover image for A friendly game of poker : 52 takes on the neighborhood game
A friendly game of poker : 52 takes on the neighborhood game
Austen, Jake.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 252 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1253 .F75 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV1253 .F75 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV1253 .F75 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Essays by a diverse group of writers capture the joys, regrets, friendships, philosophies, and adventures experienced through neighborhood poker. This collection of 52 original pieces features a section of practical and impractical tips for home poker games and a cornucopia of fascinating facts about poker paintings, poker movies, poker books, and other poker-themed masterpieces of popular culture. An interview with Edie Adams demonstrates Ernie Kovacs's poker obsession; Nick Tosches reveals Lester Bangs as a sucker; Chris Ware illustrates Bert Williams's "Darktown Poker Club"; Bill Zehme discusses Johnny Carson's celebrity poker game; and Neal Pollack discloses how his grandfather brutally introduced him to the game. With far more humor and clarity than a formal poker guide, these essays encapsulate the experience of spending a long evening drinking beer and playing pasteboards.

Author Notes

Jake Austen edits Roctober Comics and Music magazine and produces the cable access dance show Chic-A-Go-Go . His work has appeared in The Cartoon Music Book , Nickelodeon Magazine , Playboy , Spice Capades: The Spice Girls Comic Book , Bogus Dead , and Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth . Ira Glass is the host and producer of This American Life on WBEZ, Chicago's NPR affiliate.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The weekly poker game is an American phenomenon, and this collection of essays reflects that provenance as well as the special passion Americans bring to the game. Of course, there are several pieces relaying poker anecdotes, such as He Who Steals My Purse Ain't No Friend of Mine, by Nick Tosches. But those make up only the first section, called Table Tales. There are also sections called Practical and Impractical Tips and Poker in Culture (where Danelly, in Poker for Bastards, relates how one book taught him the Machiavellian art of bilking friends out of their hard-earned money). The essays are short and pithy, often silly, and usually just plain funny. As the editor says in Fifty-Two Poker Terms, Part of what makes poker night fun is acting like a bunch of knowledgeable low-life big shots. A nice, light offering to complement the hundreds of how-to poker books. --Mary Frances Wilkens Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

"There's no such thing, of course, as a friendly game of poker," says James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street, in a blurb for this entertaining collection. So perhaps it's best to play as Ira Glass does-online. Glass also poses the central question: "if poker's so wrong, why does it feel so right?" Greg Dinkin describes the agonizing, moment-by-moment thought process of playing a hand. Bill Zehme explains why Johnny Carson, who hates parties, attends sessions of the Gourmet Poker Club ("the card game becomes secondary the minute somebody has a good story to tell," says fellow player Carl Reiner). And David Quantick and Karen Krizanovich explain why Americans prefer poker and the British prefer bridge (poker is more democratic). Anyone who's ever been in a weekly poker game will find much to identify with in this delightful volume. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents

Ira GlassJake AustenGreg DinkinAshley AdamsNick ToschesBenjamin AustenNolan DallaJames PorterThomas Edward ShawBill ZehmeStarlee KineDavid GreenbergerNeal PollackRobert ElderNikki Stewart and Jacqueline StewartJeremy BraddockChris TsakisTom SpurgeonBrett ForrestRuth LopezKen BurkeJillian SteinbergerJake AustenDavid WondrichJake AustenBobby ThomasDarrell TicehurtJake AustenNolan DallaElizabeth RapoportYuval TaylorJake Austen and Jason LutesEric OttensRichard MeltzerDavid Quantick and Karen KrizanovichCarrie Golus and Patrick W. WelchJake AustenMoira F. HarrisPete FornataleKen BurkeWaymon TimbsdayleJake AustenDan KellyGentleman John BattlesJake AustenJake AustenBert WilliamsDave HoekstraHeather McAdams
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. xvii
Table Tales
A Hand for the Agesp. 3
A Wasted Eveningp. 6
He Who Steals My Purse Ain't No Friend of Minep. 9
Lady Luck, Make Me a Manp. 12
Mr. Vegasp. 16
Little Lucky: Frances Foster Recalls Poker on the South Side of Chicago in the 1940sp. 18
What About Poker?p. 21
Johnny Carson and the Gourmet Poker Clubp. 27
Members Onlyp. 30
Did You Ever Play Poker?: Conversations with Elderly Citizens at Meal Sites, Social Centers, and Nursing Homesp. 35
Remembrance of Chips Pastp. 39
The Playersp. 42
Poker for Penniesp. 47
Chase the Ace, or Poker as Class Warfarep. 50
No One Gets Hurtp. 54
Beating Paulp. 57
The Flight Gamep. 61
A Poker Family Treep. 63
Bobby Bare on Poker: An Interviewp. 67
When It Came to Poker, I Didn't Give a Shitp. 69
Nothing in Moderation--Ernie Kovacs and Poker: An Interview with Edie Adamsp. 76
Practical and Impractical Tips
Flushed with Drink: A Guide to Poker Game Drinksp. 85
Tips for Chips: Some Thoughts on Poker Chipsp. 89
How to Kick an Unwanted Player Out of the Groupp. 95
The 100-Year Poker Game (The Most Successful Poker Format Ever?)p. 101
A (Very) Brief Treatise on Poker Snacksp. 106
Why You Should Understand Your Nicknamep. 108
A Big Hand for the Little Lady: Breaking the Gender Barrierp. 109
Toward an Aesthetic of Music for Poker (Plus a Few Tips)p. 114
Ten Tips for Dealing with Cheatersp. 118
How to Play Poker with the Bossp. 124
A Pair of Shit in Hellp. 127
Divided by Cards: America and Great Britain, Poker Versus Bridge; or Why the British Prefer Bridgep. 129
A Wife's Talep. 132
How About a Cowboy Poker Night?p. 136
Fifty-Two House Rulesp. 144
Fifty-Two Poker Termsp. 152
Poker in Culture
It's a Dog's World According to Coolidgep. 161
Poker in the Moviesp. 169
Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Poker I Learned from Honeymoon In Vegasp. 178
Know When to Fold 'Em: Poker as a Country-Music Metaphorp. 182
Rock 'n' Roll Poker Poemsp. 193
Poker in Literaturep. 195
Poker for Bastardsp. 201
Poker on Televisionp. 213
Li'l Art's Poker Party: An Interview with Art Feinp. 219
Poker in Comedyp. 223
"The Darktown Poker Club"p. 230
Poker and Basketball: An Interview with Johnny "Red" Kerrp. 236
Teaching Petey Pokerp. 241
About the Contributorsp. 243