Tony Valentine is an expert at spotting cheats. He's tossed them out of gambling casinos from Atlantic City to Las Vegas and Monaco. But though Tony has never met a scam he couldn't crack, his son and partner, Gerry, has just walked into one with a body count. What started with a conman's deathbed confession turns into a deadly Las Vegas grudge match during the world's biggest poker tournament. While Gerry and his shady friends tangle with the Vegas mob, Tony enlists the aid of an aging grifter who's fleecing suckers with a dazzling array of improbable betting stunts. Tony's been hired to save the tournament (and stop a blind player who's out to heist it), while Gerry's just trying to stay alive-now that murder is in the cards. Featuring insider tips for catching poker cheats, as well as a glossary of card hustler terms! From the Paperback edition.
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April 25, 2006
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Excerpt from Deadman's Poker by James Swain
"I can beat any poker player in the world," Jack Donovan whispered.
Gerry Valentine leaned on the cold metal arm of the hospital bed while staring into the eyes of his dying friend. They'd gone to grade school together, gotten hauled into the principal's office a few dozen times, and when they'd gotten older, broken a bunch of laws together. They were as close as brothers, and to see lung cancer take Jack's life away had been one of the most painful things Gerry had ever experienced.
"Think we should go find a game?" Gerry asked.
A weak smile crossed Jack's lips. Gerry had flown into Atlantic City from Florida that morning and spent the afternoon at Jack's bedside, reminiscing with his friend. When nightfall had come, the nurse on duty had allowed Gerry to stay well past visiting hours.
"I'm serious," Jack whispered. "I can beat any player in any game."
"Is this a scam?"
Jack was on oxygen, his voice barely audible. "Yeah. Came to me when I was getting chemotherapy. The gaff is invisible, and there's no evidence left behind."
Jack had been a scammer since they were teenagers, and he knew all the angles. A scam that didn't leave evidence could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams.
"And have you actually tried it out?" Gerry asked.
"What, you think I'm going to hustle the nurses?"
"So you don't really know if it works," Gerry said. "Stuff that looks good on paper doesn't always work in the real world. Remember that time you fell in the fountain outside Caesars, and nearly drowned?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "Did you have to bring that up?"
"Look, Gerry, this is the crown jewels of poker cheating. I taught it to some guys who want to scam a poker tournament in Las Vegas. Only, now they're reneging on their end of the deal."