Book of the week: Alligator Blood by James Leighton
Saturday 30 November 2013
Is poker a sport? Well, like many of Great Britain’s medal-winning disciplines at London 2012, it’s done sitting down and there’s a great deal of skill involved, so let’s not quibble. Where it does differ, though, is that you can play it online for big money, which is where a teenaged Brisbane computer whizz named Daniel Tzvetkoff entered the picture.
Online gambling is a legal grey area in the US, but the demand is huge, especially for poker. The problem comes in processing the billions of dollars wagered via credit cards without falling foul of the authorities. This is where Tzvetkoff excelled, and soon he was raking in $3 million a week, living the champagne life in Las Vegas, buying yachts and investing in motor racing teams and nightclubs.
It couldn’t last. By 2006, still in his 20s, he had been outmanoeuvred by a shady business partner, leaving him flat broke but owing millions, and with the FBI on his trail.
James Leighton has fashioned his material with great skill into a rip-roaring rollercoaster of a book, marshalling a large cast of characters and some necessarily complex technical detail while retaining an unerring grasp on the narrative thread. There are few heroes; even while portraying Tzvetkoff in a broadly sympathetic light, he doesn’t gloss over the Aussie’s staggeringly conspicuous consumption, and raises a quizzical eyebrow as to the exact source of the funds that maintain his and his family’s current extremely comfortable existence.
Published in large-format paperback by Simon & Schuster, £14.99
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unhappy forward is ready to quit Real Madrid, according to Angel Di Maria
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Hull City vs West Ham match report: Enner Valencia stars as honours shared at the KC Stadium
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£19200 - £26880 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: In NVQ Ass...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush...