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Shut Up and Deal: an excerpt

  The great Spanish philosopher and theologian Baltasar de Gracian y Morales once said, "In this life fate mixes the cards as she lists, without consulting our wishes in the matter. And we have no choice but to play the hand she deals to us." Mickey, the rambling, gambling narrator of Jesse May's debut novel, Shut Up and Deal takes this metaphor literally. Poker is his profession, and in charged, rhythmic prose that is addictive as the game it describes, he tells a mesmerizing story about the mysteries of luck.

Twenty-eight year-old author Jesse May came of age as legalized poker did--in 1987 poker was legal in Nevada and one county of California, but by 1996 poker could be legally played in casinos in over twenty states. The essence of American myth and at the same time a scorned subculture, the booming casino scene of the '90's is rich with contradiction, excitement, and outrageous stories, and May, a natural born-storyteller and professional poker player himself, serves up plenty of all three in Shut Up and Deal.

In this month's Bold Type, we bring you an essay on poker playing, a poker glossary, an author reading, and an excerpt from Shut Up and Deal.

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