Book Review: 'Check-Raising the Devil'

Mike Matusow’s new book is a fascinating read and gives an in depth insight into the mind of this most colourful of poker professionals.
Check-Raising the Devil is an autobiographical work, written with the assistance of Tim Lavalli and the story starts with him as a boy losing the money he was earning from working at the family furniture store.
Mike explains that  he had an infatuation with the game from an early age and once he came to his own personal realisation that “Hold’em was a game of strengths and weaknesses,” and not just about the cards he was holding, he was soon able to progress through the different levels to high stakes and tournament success.
Mike ‘the mouth’ Matusow concedes  he has experienced much suffering and anguish and that he wasn’t always able to cope well with those problems life had to thrown up at him. Hie explains his mental condition during those times was further affected by the fact he had been living with bi-polar disorder without being aware of the fact. In the book he also  acknowledges his addiction problem as well as ADHD.
He says he felt this was partially responsible for  him trying drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamine in a futile attempt to alleviate his mental instability. However, his life style eventually got out of hand culminating in a 6 month jail sentence after being caught in an undercover narcotics operation. While inside he was still able to lose over $250,000 on over the phone sports betting.
He then goes on to explain that since getting help dealing with his problems he was able to allow more positive influences to affect his life  culminating in him impressively winning the World Series of Poker 2005 Tournament of Champions’.
In Check-Raising the Devil, we learn more about his mood swings,his altercation with Negreanu during the 2002 WSOP final table,and Greg Raymer at the 2004 WSOP main event, as well as learning inside details of the glamorous and seedier sides of the poker world.
This book is an absorbing insight into the world of one of the most entertaining and complex poker professionals on the circuit, and is also an inspiring story of one man’s battle against his own personal demons that has allowed him to be placed firmly at the top of the game.

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