I know it’s been a few weeks since I posted a review, and I’m even having a hard time believing I’ve gone this long since finishing a book for the blog, but I’ve been on the run – literally. I’m in the height of training for the New Jersey Marathon, and I’m exhausted. I’ve been falling asleep before 10 p.m. every night, and since I do most of my reading before I fall asleep, that leaves a lot less reading time.

I’m still…cranky with my reading material. I keep picking books and then changing my mind – one being a romance novel bought at CVS because my hotel mate decided to go to bed early, and since I was running the next day (Ocean Drive 10 miler), I couldn’t go out and drink. It worked in a pinch, but after five chapters, I just didn’t care enough anymore to follow through because the main character annoyed me.

I had started Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire–and How It All Came Crashing Down . . .by Ben Mezrich while in Vancouver, and put it aside for Book 16 of 52: Theo Pauline Nestor’s How to Sleep Alone in a King-Sized Bed because Nestor’s book fit in my purse while Mezrich’s did not. I was also less interested in internet gambling than break ups, so I didn’t have a huge incentive to keep reading, but I did want to get back to it after I finished Nestor’s book, and here we are.

Straight Flush is about the University of Montana fraternity guys who launched Absolutepoker.com – a pipe dream that started by playing poker in bars near college, then set up shop in a rented house in Costa Rica on its way to becoming a billion-dollar company. But, as the first chapter, which is about one of the key members turning himself in to U.S. authorities, all did not go well.

Then the narrative jumps back to these guys in college, and the story unwinds from there. There’s plenty of stories about young men with lots of money living it up in another country. I found that less interesting than the business aspect, of how they did manage to put together a legitimate business that, overnight, the U.S. made – possibly – illegal.

This is definitely a Mezrich topic. He also wrote The Accidental Billionaires about Facebook and became the film The Social Network, and Bringing Down the House, which was about MIT card counters and was turned into the movie 21. I’ve read parts of Bringing Down the House, but found this story much more interesting if not exactly exciting enough to keep me anchored to my chair to finish the story.

Still much better than a romance novel with a wishy washy heroine, though.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Trent on April 4, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Thanks for the review of the "Straight Flush." This story is about my Brother(s), one of which currently serving time in a Federal prison in CO for his involvement with AP.
    I'm excited to read the book, as I've been hearing about it for over a year now. I have it on pre-order with Amazon.com 🙂

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