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If you think a gang of real-life geeks can’t take on the world and win big... think again. And whatever you do, don’t sit down across a gaming table from Jon Finkel, better known as Jonny Magic. Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids is his amazing true story: the jaw-dropping, zero-to-hero chronicle of a fat, friendless boy from New Jersey who found his edge in a game of cards–and turned it into a fortune!
The ultimate bully-magnet, Finkel grew up heckled and hazed until destiny came in the form of a trading-card game called Magic: The Gathering. Magic exploded from nerdy obsession to mainstream mania and made the teenage Finkel an ultra-cool world champion.
Once transformed, this young shark stormed poker rooms from the underground clubs of New York City to the high-stakes tables online, until he landed on the largest card-counting blackjack team in the country. Taking Vegas for millions, Finkel’s squad of brainy gamers became the biggest players in town. Then they took on the town’s biggest game, the World Series of Poker, and walked away with more than $3.5 million!
Thrilling, edgy, and ferociously feel-good, the odyssey of these underdogs-turned-overlords is the stuff of pop-culture legend. Acclaimed author David Kushner masterfully deals out the outrageous details while bringing to life a cast of characters rife with aces, kings, knaves…and more than a few jokers. If you secretly believe every player has his day, you’re right. Here’s the proof.
David Kushner is the author of Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Rolling Stone, Wired, Spin, Salon, and The New York Times. He lives in New Jersey. Visit his website at www.davidkushner.com.
"... reads like a thriller."
"Rating: 4Q 5P S. Kushner's narration approaches game playing with the zeal of a sports reporter as he tells of Jon Finkel's rise from nerdy, bullied student to a six-figure-earning game player in this nonfiction work. Although not trained for the stage, Kushner delivers a well-paced narration, adding emphasis were needed, as he reveals the emerging world of young professional gamblers."
"David Kushner writes all about it in the thoroughly engaging Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids. Listen & Live Audio has recorded it unabridged, with Kushner reading. Kushner knows how to tell a story, plus he writes - and reads - with gusto and charm. He had me wanting to learn Magic and blackjack myself. Heck, someday I might even stay in a casino for more than 20 minutes."
"A breezy, unpretentious take on Jon "Jonny Magic" Finkel--a fat New Jersey kid who got hooked on Magic: The Gathering and turned his childhood obsession into millions by counting cards at casinos, winning online poker tourneys, and coming up with advanced analyses of sports betting. Poker may be the sell, but Kushner has really written a classic story about a nerd who got the crap beaten out of him in high school but came out on top in the end."
"Finkel's story resonates because we've all been there, to some degree. We've all felt alienated and alone, and a good many of us have turned, like Jon did, to the welcoming arms of SF, fantasy, and D&D. Watching Jon grow and change from a lonely, troubled teen into a successful and happy adult is an uplifting experience, and Kushner does a great job telling his story."
Buzz Girl (blog from NY correspondent for BookPage)
"The subtitle says it all about this new generation of gamblers. It’s a possibility for 60 Minutes."
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