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Print Non - Fiction July 9, 2004
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James McManus
Positively Fifth Street
2003

A Chicago novelist and poet, Jim McManus found his starting point for Positively Fifth Street in a short piece he was commissioned to write for Harper's on the murder of casino owner Ted Binion and the trial of Binion's stripper girlfriend, all set against the glittering backdrop of Las Vegas and the increasingly popular World Series of Poker, which the Binion casino had been host to since the tournament began in the 1970s. In spring of 2000, McManus travelled to Vegas to scope out the tourney and the trial at the same time (talk about a happy coincidence), then parlayed part of his writing fee into an entry in the main event. As he flips back and forth between the Binion case and his own struggles to move up the tournament ladder, McManus's most winning trait is his voice, simulaneously impulsive and intellectual. Of course, that's a combination that can get you pretty far in professional poker circles, which McManus has been seen frequenting since his 2000 appearance in the World Series. Hopefully it won't take a murder to get him to write more about his experiences at the tables.


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