Ante Hero

A regular guy tries his luck at poker's big game

When James McManus went to Las Vegas to cover the $23 million World Series of Poker, he did what any responsible 49-year-old father of four would do: he bet his advance. He used it to buy into a qualifying match, then won it, and before he knew it, he was swapping $100,000 raises across a few feet of green baize with the high rollers he was supposed to be writing about. Positively Fifth Street (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 422 pages) is his improbable, irresistible account of what happened next.

"God may play dice with the universe," McManus writes, "but serious gamblers...prefer...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!