We reviewed The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death

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We clearly must pick our words when writing on Colson Whitehead. After all, it’s the artistry with which he picks his own words that brought him significant recognition in the writing field. It would be unfair if we didn’t do our best to hustle as nobly in this tiny review. Although Whitehead has established himself as a novelist, he dips in participatory observation and journalism, standing firmly in the nonfiction genre.

The 234 pages between the hard covers detail the author’s experience in brick-and-mortar casinos, dealing hands on poker. However, he doesn’t focus solely on the live scene. A considerable part of the book describes how the world of gambling has changed with the shift to online. The changes are especially visible in the demographics – many young punters, hailing from all mediums, have begun entering the community. So, even if you haven’t got any physical location nearby, you can recreate and conquer the gambling experience on your very own smartphone! And, if you wish to have a bit of a helping hand when you start, you may browse the mobile bonuses on casinobonusca.

After giving you an overview of the gaming industry (and of the creative endeavors arising from it), we find it fitting to jump straight to…

The Book’s Genesis

Whitehead only had a prompt from the online magazine Grantland, a £10,000 stake, and a lifelong case of anhedonia in his quest for meaning. This condition, literally meaning ‘lack of pleasure,’ is generally treated as a symptom of depression than as a standalone disorder. True to its name, anhedonia implies that not even the most pleasurable activities will change the sufferer’s state of mind. How would the hormonal cocktail of gambling fare when facing a nemesis of this caliber?

Before engaging in this experiment-turned-writing-prompt, Colson Whitehead already was a regular gambler in his neighborhood. But it was quite a change when he headed straight to Las Vegas and wore the shoes of a high roller.

How Poker Creates Epiphanies: A Memoir

Numerous other reviewers and, to an extent, C. Whitehead himself (self-deprecatingly), associated this book with bestselling Eat, Pray, Love, but with emotional emptiness instead of meditation. It would, however, be wrong to describe his work as lacking in the epiphany department. The description of the poker tournament’s setting also states that the following days will host wholly different events. This way, the reader gets a sense of the ephemeral and how narrow the timeframe is. The tournament’s not lasting long doesn’t necessarily take from its importance, but it suggests that meaning is constructed by the one participating in the event than by an external force. And impermanent as this challenge is, it works as an outlet for Whitehead’s memory. Starting from poker, he goes on tangents like his athleticism (or lack thereof) or college buddies… Surprisingly enough, one of the said buddies is renowned film director Darren Aronofsky!

After all, each artistic piece has a shard of memory in it. That’s because we’ll always look at a picture, book, or film from our future to their past. Whitehead’s memory is as flowing as the World Poker Series timetable in which he’s participating, despite a lack of proficiency.

Some voices have stated that the writer’s reminiscences make for wonky or tiring pacing. And although we cannot contradict this, we believe that this nonfiction book is just as literary as its fiction counterparts. It might not contain fictional accounts of events, but it does include the author’s personality. Moreover, the power of his perception lends magic to all daily life events. Or non-events, as most often than not, there is no situational dynamism. The most energetic aspect of the book is Whitehead’s psyche. Not the poker tournament. Nor the colorful and loud Vegas.

Was This Hustle Noble?

It was, we must give it that. The journey to Vegas might have started as a magazine’s request, but it quickly became a quest for inspiration, affect, and identity. Through his unusual task, Colson Whitehead came a little closer to knowing himself and decided to share this knowledge with his readers (most of them already devout from his fiction era). Impermanent as things may be (like a poker hand), they might be meaningful from the right angle.

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