D&B Publishing is best known for its poker strategy books written by successful poker players. However, D&B’s latest offering to the poker world, Poker & Pop Culture, falls into a different category.
Poker & Pop Culture is a poker history book by veteran poker journalist Martin Harris. The book’s subtitle is Telling the Story of America’s Favorite Card Game. Harris does exactly that.
In doing so, Harris has accomplished an impressive feat. Until recently, no one had written the definitive history of poker.
Instead, poker’s history was a collection of oral stories passed down through the years. As such, if ever there was a subject in need of a written record, it’s poker.
In Poker & Pop Culture, Harris sifts through the facts, fiction, and exaggerations to write the definitive history of poker.
Harris is the man to write the history of poker in America
If you’ve participated in a major poker tournament or are a regular consumer poker content you’re likely familiar with Harris’s work. Perhaps under his online and social media monikers of Short-Stacked Shamus and Hard-Boiled Poker.
You might also recognize the title of the book from Harris’s similarly-named long-running column. This column is the work of a journalist who finally got to the bottom of the long-debated match between Johnny Moss and Nick the Greek Dandalos.
What you may not be familiar with is Harris’s academic resume. Harris has several advanced degrees, including a PhD in English, and teaches a course titled “Poker in American Film and Culture” at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
Needless to say, Harris has the resume needed to tackle such a monumental undertaking. In the words of Tommy Angelo, “this book had to be written, and only one person could write it.”
Poker & Pop Culture is not your typical history book
Harris is an expert on the subject matter. So, like most history books, Poker & Pop Culture delivers the who, the what, the where, and the when of poker.
However, instead of being a dry history book, Poker & Pop Culture brings the stories to life. That quality is thanks to Harris’s terrific writing and well-formulated suppositions, which produce passages like:
“We hardly need to go back to Genesis to support the argument that as a species, humans have pretty much always been ready and willing to gamble, and other humans have always been there to raise objections.”
Overview of Poker & Pop Culture
Poker & Pop Culture is Harris’s magnum opus. He put 12 years of research into a topic that on top of it all, he clearly loves.
Naturally, this book will appeal to any poker enthusiast. But, the book isn’t just a treat for poker players.
In fact, it’s the story of America, told through the eyes of poker. As such, this is a must read for anyone interested in America’s history of pop culture, not just those of us who prefer life on the felt.
The book is also an easy read. Harris broke it into 23 distinct sections to allow readers to jump around or skip parts of the book.
Harris even gazes into his crystal ball to speculate on what the future holds for the game,. In Harris’s opinion, it looks a lot like its past and present,
“Looking ahead to poker’s future America, there will no doubt continue to be divided opinions about the game’s worth and significance.”
In essence, the final chapter of Poker & Pop Culture has yet to be written. Hopefully, that means that Harris will write second volume sometime down the road.