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Lost Vegas

Book Review: Lost Vegas by Paul McGuire

by Chad Holloway of

While I was at the 2010 WSOP, I had the opportunity to pick up a brand new book titled Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker by established poker writer/blogger, Paul McGuire. “Dr. Pauly,” as he is also known, is most famous for his popular blogs, the Tao of Poker and Tao of Pauly. Since 2005, McGuire has worked at each WSOP as a poker writer for various media outlets including PokerNews,, Bluff Magazine, Poker Player Newspaper, Fox Sports and the Poker Stars blog, so his résumé speaks for itself.

Poker writers, bloggers and reporters are an intricate part of the WSOP that do not garner the recognition they deserve. Having served in that position for the past two WSOPs, I can tell you that those in the media are privy to a world different from the one captured by the ESPN cameras. Controversy, drama, arguments, fights, cheating and deals are just a sample of things that occur at the WSOP but are rarely reported on. When I read Lost Vegas, I felt it captured my experience as a poker blogger perfectly. It is an excellent account of the sort of things that occur at the WSOP over the course of seven weeks, much of which will be surprising to the average poker fan. In fact, John Caldwell, former Editor-in-Chief of PokerNews, has said:

“Pauly has the chameleon-like ability to be the fly on the wall, or the eye of the hurricane when it comes to the crazy stuff that goes on in the poker world. Some in poker will want to hide when Lost Vegas comes out, some will crave the attention, but everyone will read it as soon as they can get their hands on it.”

As the title suggest, the topics covered in the book are quite varied. McGuire does a great job of incorporating his personal experiences (which often involve drugs, alcohol, sex and strippers) with the events of the 2005 thru 2008 WSOPs. He provides great detail on what it’s like to be a member of the media in the poker industry and the familiar faces that inhabit that world. In addition, you’ll also read great stories involving some of poker’s biggest names including Barry Greenstein, Tiffany Michelle, Phil Ivey, Archie Karas and Phil Hellmuth.

In general, I found Lost Vegas to be an engaging and fun read. McGuire has a unique writing ability that puts the reader in his shoes and sees the WSOP as he did. As someone who has been there and done what he has, I can tell you that it is fully accurate and honest. The things you read about in the book actually happened, and similar things will happen when the WSOP rolls around next year. You’ll find many of the things repulsive, controversial and just flat out wrong, but you won’t be able to put it down.

This is not a poker strategy book; instead, it is full of entertaining poker stories and history as told by one of poker’s most respected bloggers. If you have an interest in the WSOP, including how it works and what it is really like in Las Vegas during the tournaments, then you don’t want to miss Lost Vegas. For more on the book, or to purchase a copy, you can check out the website


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