One problem: the U.S. Department of Justice was gunning for them. . . .
Based on extensive insider interviews and participation, acclaimed author Ben Mezrich's Straight Flush tells the captivating rags-to-riches tale of a group of University of Montana frat brothers who turned a weekly poker game in the basement of a local dive bar into AbsolutePoker.com, one of the largest online companies in the world, on par with some of the behemoths of the Internet. At its height, Absolute Poker was an online empire earning more than a million dollars a day, following savvy business strategy and even better luck. Its founders set up their operations in the exotic jungle paradise of Costa Rica, embracing an outrageous lifestyle of girls, parties, and money.
Meanwhile, the gray area of U.S. and international law in which the company operated was becoming a lot more risky, and soon the U.S. Department of Justice had placed a bull's-eye on Absolute Poker. Should they fold—or double down and ride their hot hand? Impossible to put down, Straight Flush is an exclusive, never-before-seen look behind the headlines of one of the wildest business stories of the past decade.
John Malcolm was the ultimate gunslinger in the Wild East, prepared to take on any level of risk in making mind-boggling sums of money. He and his friends were hedge-fund cowboys, living life on the adrenaline-, sex-, and drugs-fueled edge—kids running billion-dollar portfolios, trading information in the back rooms of high-class brothels and at VIP tables in nightclubs across the Far East.
Malcolm and his Ivy League-schooled twenty-something colleagues, with their warped sense of morality, created their own economic theory that would culminate in a single deal the likes of which had never been seen before—or since.
Ugly Americans is a story of extremes, charged with wealth, nerve, excess, and glamour. A real-life mixture of Liar's Poker and Wall Street, brimming with intense action, romance, underground sex, vivid locales, and exotic characters, Ugly Americans is the untold true story that rocked the financial community.
Semyon Dukach was known as the Darling of Las Vegas. A legend at age twenty-one, this cocky hotshot was the biggest high roller to appear in Sin City in decades, a mathematical genius with a system the casinos had never seen before and couldn't stop -- a system that has never been revealed until now; that has nothing to do with card counting, wasn't illegal, and was more powerful than anything that had been tried before.
Las Vegas. Atlantic City. Aruba. Barcelona. London. And the jewel of the gambling crown -- Monte Carlo.
Dukach and his fellow MIT students hit them all and made millions. They came in hard, with stacks of cash; big, seemingly insane bets; women hanging on their arms; and fake identities. Although they were taking classes and studying for exams during the week, over the weekends they stormed the blackjack tables only to be harassed, banned from casinos, threatened at gunpoint, and beaten in Vegas's notorious back rooms.
The stakes were high, the dangers very real, but the players were up to the challenges, consequences be damned. There was Semyon Dukach himself, bored with school and broke; Victor Cassius, the slick, brilliant MIT grad student who galvanized the team; Owen Keller, with stunning ability but a dark past that would catch up to him; and Allie Simpson, bright, clever, and a feast for the eyes.
In the classroom, they were geeks. On the casino floor, they were unstoppable.
Busting Vega$ is Dukach's unbelievably true story; a riveting account of monumental greed, excess, hubris, sex, love, violence, fear, and statistics that is high-stakes entertainment at its best.
After conquering the hallowed halls of Harvard Business School, he enters the testosterone-laced warrens of the Merc Exchange, the asylumlike oil exchange located in lower Manhattan. A place where billions of dollars trade hands every week, the Merc is like a casino on crack, where former garbagemen become millionaires overnight and where fistfights break out on the trading floor.
This ordinary kid has traded Brooklyn for the gold-lined hotel palaces of Dubai. He keeps company on the decks of private yachts in Monte Carlo—teeming with half-naked girls flown in by Saudi sheiks—and makes deals in the dangerous back alleys of Beijing.
But the Merc is just a starting place. Taken under the wing of another young gun and partnering with a mysterious young Muslim, the kid embarks on a dangerous adventure to revolutionize the oil trading industry—and, along with it, the world.
Rigged is the explicit, exclusive, true story behind the headlines that dominate the world stage.