Friday, March 4, 2016

Pokergeist by Michael Phillip Cash

- Carrie Anne

Sometimes life, as well as death, is about second chances.  Luckless Telly Martin doesn't have a clue.  An awful gambler trying to scrape by as a professional poker player, he becomes the protege of world famous poker champion Clutch Henderson.  The only catch...Clutch is a ghost.  Telly and Clutch must navigate the seedy gambling underbelly of Las Vegas learning to trust each other in order to win the elusive International Series of Poker, repair their shattered personal relationships and find redemption in this life and the hereafter.  (taken from the back of the book)

If I had just gone by the back of the book, I might not have picked it up.  Who wants to read about a loser or the seedy underbelly of anything?  And the few times I've watched professional poker, I was bored to tears.

I never should've doubted Cash.  Once again, he gives us characters we really care about.  Telly isn't a loser, he's a good guy that's had a string of bad luck...maybe not the bet time to start gambling professionally?  He has a sweet girlfriend, Gretchen, who supports him but thinks maybe it's time to settle into a steady job again.  He has great friends and parents that love him.  And he has a ghost.

Clutch Henderson has played poker all his life, following in his grandfather's footsteps.  In fact, his desire to win the championship (and its prize gold bracelet)  stems from the fact his grandfather won sixty years ago, and he felt he had to prove he could do it, too.  Unfortunately, Clutch has a heart attack before he can claim the bracelet as his own.  But as a ghost, he can see everything...every hand.  Maybe he can help Telly win the championship this year?

Turns out, Cash makes it as much fun to read about poker as it is to play (my grandfather taught me, too, at an early age.)  There are several funny episodes in the book, and I was never quite sure what would happen next.  The poker games are described so well, I felt as if I was right there at the table with them.  I read Cash has been playing for twenty years himself, and his love of the game shines through.  Ultimately, though, it's a story of relationships, one anyone can relate to.

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