I just finished How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker — The Wisdom of Dickie Richard, by Penn Jillette and Mickey D. Lynn. It sucks. Either that, or I suck. Let me explain.
The book is very clear in the early going that it’s not a joke book — it’s the real deal, and it essentially recounts the memoirs (with tips included) of a guy (Dickie Richards — not his real name) who made a great living cheating at poker. It says that Penn Jillette (whom I will never stop loving, even if he attaches his name to a crappy book) was taken in by this fella when Jillette was young and broke, scraping by as an aspiring magician and juggler. As a payback many years later, this guy supposedly got in touch with Jillette and said he wanted Jillette to help him publish this book. Yada, yada, yada, the guy’s book sucked, Jillette rewrote it (and for some reason dragged this Lynn fella into the mix), blah blah blah. [more after ther jump]
Anyway, I don’t know what I expected, but I guess I expected the book to be funny, and maybe include some cool card tricks. Wrong. Sure, there are some stories where the writer uses harsh words to make fun of the suckers he cheated, but I can’t say there are too many truly funny lines in the book. And there are no card tricks. In fact, for all of the sleight of hand maneuvers, etc., that you need to know in order to be an effective cheater at cards, they refer you to another book (The Expert at the Card Table, by S.W. Erdnase)!
I didn’t buy this book so that I could start cheating at cards. Yet for some reason, I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated that I’ve finished it and can’t cheat any better than I could before I started it (which is zero, zilch, nada). I guess it’s kind of like karate — you don’t want to have to actually use the skills, but it’s nice to know you have them. But no dice here.
And the “cheating” that you are supposed to be learning in this book goes completely off the deep end — all the way to different ways to steal money from the host of a game to how to get in the sack with the host’s wife. Now I just have to hope that none of my friends read it and comprehend it better than I did.