|Title||The Noble Hustle|
|Pros||Quick, enjoyable, easy read from a great writer.|
|Cons||Maybe too quick, despite the content being padded unchronologically by events from a year after the main narrative.|
|1||The Republic of Anhedonia|
|23||Making the Nature Scene|
|55||The Poker Chips Is Filth||1|
|99||Wretch Like Me||2|
|141||How Are You Going to Break It to Cujo?||3|
|175||Every Ante Is a Soul||4|
Note: unnumbered page 236 is "About the Author".
They were all men until Maria Konnikova in 2020.
Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for The Underground Railroad in 2017 and The Nickel Boys in 2020, joining Booth Tarkington, William Faulkner, and John Updike as the only Fiction double winners.
The subtitle of the book is "Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death". "Death refers to busting out of a poker tournament, while beef jerky is one of the preferred snacks of poker players who may not be able to get away from the table long enough for a proper meal.
More than a decade into the poker boom and a month after Black Friday has effectively killed internet poker in the U.S., Whitehead still lays out the basics of Texas Hold 'Em and explains how tournaments work, but at least he does so more entertainingly than anyone else has. A driver's license-less native of the Big Apple, he takes the bus to Atlantic City, accepts his complimentary chips and tangles with denizens of the $1/$2 Hold 'Em tables. This is a step up from his usual game but still far from where he's going.Despite hiring a poker coach,4
Helen Ellis is also a writer by trade, but she has over $100,000 in live poker tournament cashes.
On page 183, Whitehead admits to folding out of turn and unintentionally putting in an insufficient raise because he confused the chips.
"Anhedonia", meaning "the inability to feel pleasure" is a real word but a fictitious location.
But just six weeks later he's made the massive jumps to Las Vegas, the No-Limit Main Event, and a $10,000 buyin. Despite additional advice from Matt Matros, a writer-turned-successful-poker-player, Whitehead is far from ready. His Main Event story unfolds over the last fifty pages of the book. His demise is fully expected yet still disappointing to him, the now-defunct Grantland, and the reader, who is left wishing there was more for him to tell.