"In this series about gambling, the main character is a big winner." -Janet Maslin, The New York Times "Bask in Swain's Las Vegas without having to set foot in the place and risk being skinned alive." -The Washington Post Book World A blind poker player named Skip DeMarco is scamming the world's largest poker tournament in Las Vegas, and cheating-expert Tony Valentine and his son, Gerry, have been hired to find out how.
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May 29, 2006
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Excerpt from Deadman's Bluff by James Swain
"I win," Rufus Steele said.
Tony Valentine could not believe his eyes. Steele, a seventy-year-old, whiskey-drinking Texas gambler, had just outrun a racehorse named Greased Lightning in the hundred-yard dash. The race had taken place on the manicured football field of the University of Nevada, the pulsating neon of the Las Vegas strip electrifying the night sky.
Valentine stood in the end zone with a mob of gamblers, many of whom had bet against Rufus. The gamblers were competing in the World Poker Showdown, the world's richest poker tournament. Valentine was there for a different reason. He'd been hired by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to figure out how a seeing-impaired player could be cheating the tournament, and he was trying to help his son avenge the murder of a childhood friend. The fact that he'd solved neither case to his satisfaction had made for a long four days, and watching Rufus fleece some suckers had provided a welcome distraction.
"I want to see the tape," declared a man known as the Greek.
The Greek had lost a half million bucks on the horse. He fancied himself a gambler, but had never swam with sharks as big as Rufus. The old cowboy sauntered over to where the Greek stood.
"Want to bet on the outcome again?" Rufus asked.
"Shut up!" the Greek roared.
Zack, the cameraman who'd filmed the event, rewound the tape, and the Greek and Rufus huddled behind him, staring at the camera's tiny screen. Valentine wanted to see the race again as well, and stared over the two men's shoulders.
Gloria Curtis brushed up beside him. In Vegas covering the poker tournament for a cable sports network, Gloria had filmed the race to be shown on her talk show. "Did you know Rufus was going to swindle the Greek like that?" she whispered to Valentine.