We gave it a B
In 2001, self-made Texas billionaire Andy Beal hit Vegas wanting to play high-stakes poker with the colorful, ice-in-the-veins pros who appear on TV’s now-ubiquitous World Poker Tour. He had the temperament: In 2000, he’d calmly killed a start-up firm after sinking a reported $200 million of his own money. Beal realized he’d improve his chances if he could play Texas hold ’em one-on-one for Everest-high stakes, culminating in the most expensive poker matches ever: In one case, it was winner take all, with each side putting up $10 million (the pros played tag team, pooling their resources) and each bet costing $100,000 for the first two rounds and $200,000 for the last two. Michael Craig admirably reconstructs some of the play in The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King, but shuffles so often between sketches of the oddball pros that he loses any narrative momentum. Guess you really did have to be there.