Sunday, December 22, 2013

“You are contaminated.”

Thus ends the first biography of   Jon Finkel [my Hero] by author David Kushner [Masters of Doom]. A Casino Pit Boss has seen the author chatting with a known card counter, and Mr Finkel wants to remain uncontaminated thus Mr Kushner must move on so Mr Finkel can continue to play…A pretty perfect ending to a not so perfect book…

Jonny Magic is a quick read—ideal for anyone interested in background information on the greatest game created in the last 30 years or one of the greatest athletes of our generation.  This book is fun to read—a lot of the early bullying stories and later gambling tales are really eye opening. Mr Kushner has unearthed some interesting background details & covers most of the high points in Finkel’s life.

However, this book mostly misses the point when trying to draw larger social conclusions that are so far not evident in the facts of Mr Finkel’s life. Mr Kushner would have done better with more subjects and more time in the trenches with Magic Players. The book would have been rewarded by a more laser like focus on Magic and less discussion of poker and black jack—chapters of why some people play magic for reasons other than money, would have been refreshing.

More focus on Jon Finkel and why “when he plays a card it is amazing, and when you play the same card it is just ok”—the story of what makes Finkel the best Magic Player requires more analysis of what makes a good Magic player and what playing Magic means. That story, which is the story I bought the book to read, is not meant to be the story of this book and still remains to be written.


What is evident in Finkel’s life so far is that he is the best magic player ever. How he got there is detailed, what he did while he was at the top of his game is discussed, where is he is today is addressed. Unfortunately, what exactly that means is left to the reader to figure out.