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"Cowboys Full" Review

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TitleCowboys Full - The Story of Poker
AuthorJames McManus
Skill Levelany
ProsA comprehensive and entertaining history of poker through 2008.
ConsVery long and can drag at times.

Table of Contents
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23Loaded Knucklebones to Donkeys in Cyberspace2
30A Shivering Shaman and the Concubines of Invention3
35Jeanne d'Arc and La Hire to the Naked Singularity of Spades4
42Dr. Jerome Cardplayer and the Vying Games That Gave Rise to Poker5
49Poque to Pokuh to Poker6
58Mississippi Steamboats, the Internet Card Rooms of 18147
67The Cheating Game8
74Styles and Technologies of Cheating9
83Sharps Reformed and Unreconstructed10
91Decks Cold and Colder11
98The Mary Situation12
104Look Away, Dixie Land13
111The Wizard14
121Nary a Pair15
129Aces and Eights16
138Early Draw Primers17
143Stud Poker18
149High Plains Drifters19
155Cowboys Playing Poker20
164Dogs Playing Poker21
169The Mirror, the Riffle, the Shift, and the Shark22
175The Education of a Poker Player, Part 123
186Hump Guns Down Brain over Stud Debt!24
193The Education of a Poker Player, Part 225
200The Secretary, the President, His Wife, and Her Lover26
208The Education of a Poker Player, Part 327
214The Buck Stops with Vinson -- or Winston28
221Cold War Poker29
229Dowling and Kriegel, Blotzsky and Witherspoon30
236The Legend of Johnny and the Greek31
243Hold Me, Darlin'32
251The Opposite of a Peace Sign33
258Two Burn Holes in a Blanket34
264The World Series of Poker, Part 135
271Gardena, That Seventies Poker Capital36
280The World Series of Poker, Part 237
288The World Series of Poker, Part 338
297The World Series of Poker, Part 439
306The World Series of Poker, Part 540
320Small Ball, the Bluff, and the Boom41
330Drawing Red Lines in the Desert, or How (Not) to Bluff a Martyr42
337Fooled by Randomness43
345Bunches of Luck44
352The Biology and Eros of No-Limit Hold'em Tournaments45
358The Andy Game, Part 146
375The Andy Game, Part 247
386LH and AI48
395The Poker World Is Flat (In Spite of the UIGEA)49
405Cheating 2.050
412Poker School, Poker Law, Poker Ethics51
419The World's Game52
471Selected Bibliography
475Glossary of Poker Terms

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James McManus's Cowboys Full - The Story of Poker came out just a year after Des Wilson's Ghosts at the Table, so it makes sense to compare and contrast them.

Both books have a lot going for them. Even where their topics overlap, which is often, the content differs significantly. Both cover the history of playing cards, poker (and specifically Texas Hold 'Em), Wild West poker (and Dead Man's Hand), riverboat gambling, road gamblers, the growth of Las Vegas (and the Moss-Dandolos match), the World Series of Poker, high stakes poker (including Andy Beal), women in poker, and online poker.

Cowboys Full's extra material includes poker in Gardena, California, poker playing U.S. Presidents (and other politicians), computer poker programs, and poker literature.

Ghosts at the Table's unique offerings include the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona and Wilson's personal investigation into Hal Fowler.

Ghosts at the Table is the more entertaining of the pair and presents more content that doesn't appear in any other poker book, while Cowboys Full is equally well written and amazingly researched with a whopping 41 pages of footnotes and 64 references (and that's just the selected bibliography).

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