Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker
Benny Binion was many things: a cowboy, a pioneering casino owner, a gangster, a killer, and founder of the hugely successful World Series of Poker. From a Texas backwater, Binion rose to prominence on a combination of vision, determination, and brutal expediency. His formula was simple: run a good business, cultivate the big boys, kill your enemies, and own the cops. Through a mix of cold-bloodedness, native intelligence, folksiness and philanthropy, Binion became one of the most revered figures in the history of gambling, and his showmanship, shrewdness and violence would come to dominate the Vegas scene. Veteran journalist Doug Swanson uses once-secret government documents and dogged reporting to show how Binion destroyed his rivals and outsmarted his adversaries, playing a crucial role in the shaping of modern Las Vegas.
"A rollicking biography ... A great piece of narrative nonfiction that reads like, well, a great crime novel" Booklist "Not only a fine biography but also a history of the pre-World War II rackets in Dallas and the birth of Vegas as seen through the lens of charming but ruthless Benny" Associated Press "It's a fascinating slice of colorful Americana delivered with insight and sly humor" -- Jeff Guinn, author of the New York Times bestseller Manson
Doug J. Swanson is the investigative projects editor at The Dallas Morning News. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing, has won many other awards, and spent a year as a John S. Knight Fellow in Journalism at Stanford University. In addition, Swanson has written five crime novels. He has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, and he won the John Creasey Award from the British Crime Writers Association, one of the major honours in crime.