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I had such a sour taste in my mouth after I read a recent book about poker, decided to read another book in that world Come to find out, Blood Aces really wasn t about poker except toward the end of the book but about the life of Benny Binion, creator of the World Series of Poker That event, and professional poker in general, has become a billion dollar industry for the gambling world and who knows how manymillions are wagered in home games I knew very little about Binion other than the I had such a sour taste in my mouth after I read a recent book about poker, decided to read another book in that world Come to find out, Blood Aces really wasn t about poker except toward the end of the book but about the life of Benny Binion, creator of the World Series of Poker That event, and professional poker in general, has become a billion dollar industry for the gambling world and who knows how manymillions are wagered in home games I knew very little about Binion other than the fact he owned the old school Horseshoe Casino in the seedier, non strip part of downtown Las Vegas the WSOP connection Come to find out, Binion was quite the criminal in Dallas, making a fortune with numbers running, money laundering, racteteering, illegal gambling, tax evasion the like in Dallas before he ever set foot in Las Vegas We should also add murder as he not only personally killed a few people, he allegedly paid to have numerous people knocked off who were carving into his territory profit Blood Aces great title is a lot of fun if you are into rural criminal behavior or early Vegas lawlessness Las Vegas was a wild place in its early days with the mafia opening skimming huge amounts of money, over the top corruption the lack of the police to make laws stick More reviews and no fluff on the blog I found this to be an interesting read and really respect the challenges the author faced in writing a biography of Benny Binion He s a character who didn t leave any letters papers and certainly worked hard to reinvent himself constantly and whitewash the past Most of what author Swanson had to work with were hearsay, interviews, and sources that often were biased newspaper, police blotters, etcThe book tracksMore reviews and no fluff on the blog I found this to be an interesting read and really respect the challenges the author faced in writing a biography of Benny Binion He s a character who didn t leave any letters papers and certainly worked hard to reinvent himself constantly and whitewash the past Most of what author Swanson had to work with were hearsay, interviews, and sources that often were biased newspaper, police blotters, etcThe book tracks Binion s life chronologically from humble origins in Texas, his crime sprees in Dallas, and then fleeing to reinvent himself in Las Vegas Along the way a lot of lawmen would try to bring him down they ended up bribed, intimidated, stalemated, or dead The parts of Binion s life are broken down into three sections Texas, Las Vegas, and then reinventing himself yet again in Vegas after jailtime.At the same time, we learn a lot about the circumstances in which Benny Binion operated and the people he befriended or fought As an example, I had no idea that Texas and Fort Worth were lawless out of control towns even well into the 1950s I think most of us grew up with the glamor of Dallas, the TV series Also, one of Binion s supposedly vicious hitmen was the father of actor Woody Harrellson It s tidbits like those that make the read interesting.Other aspects made me wince, though That McCarran for whom the Las Vegas airport is named , looks to have been firmly in Binion s pocket as well as many others who also clearly benefited from illegal activities The book isof a frightening statement about America and American corruption We all knew the mobsters ran the casinos until the 1970s but somehow Benny Binion managed through donations to create a sterling public reputation in his later years despite a history of viciousness and unsolved murders As well, the sheer number of policemen, judges, andwho twisted or broke the law to protect him is especially sad.Perhaps the irony for me is that Benny Binion was a family man and not known for lady chasing like so many in his position Sadly, as the book notes, that wasn t the same for his sons But he remained married to one woman and steadfastly protected his family.In all, a fascinating read for those who have been to Vegas enough to have heard of Binion or for those curious about an American mobster Note that the book is not really about the history of Las Vegas or Vegas Poker it s about Benny Binion s life story.Reviewed from an ARC 3 1 2 stars This is a short biography type book of Benny Binion Binion comes from a poor Texas family who is fending for himself and providing for his family at the age of 12 Binion goes from horsehand to the small time gambling syndicates in Texas to building his somewhat large scale gambling empire in Texas to include running rigged number games to his personal favorite dice games After being somewhat forced out of Texas he settles in Las Vegas, Nevada with the big boys In Vegas Binion bu 3 1 2 stars This is a short biography type book of Benny Binion Binion comes from a poor Texas family who is fending for himself and providing for his family at the age of 12 Binion goes from horsehand to the small time gambling syndicates in Texas to building his somewhat large scale gambling empire in Texas to include running rigged number games to his personal favorite dice games After being somewhat forced out of Texas he settles in Las Vegas, Nevada with the big boys In Vegas Binion builds his legacy with the Horseshoe on Glitter Gulch This story centers around Binion s personal war with fellow gambler Herbert Noble during Binion s early years in Texas This book gives the reader a small sampling of corruption in the infancy of Vegas Received through first readsI found this book to be very entertaining, and that s coming from someone who has absolutely no interest in gambling casinos Las Vegas A page turner, well written, with a bit of background on theminor figures in the book, which I really like As a biography it was a good mix of the personal and professional aspects of Binions life Certainly worth reading. Trust everyone But always cut the cards Benny BinionThis is the story of Benny Binion, a Texas gangster who never met a mobster he didn t like, until he killed him He also helped to found Las Vegas, Nevada and brought poker to the forefront at his Binion s Horseshoe Casino now Binions on Fremont Ave in the old downtown of Las Vegas I enjoyed reading this biography of a Texan who decided money was all he wanted and would do anything to get enough after living in poverty in his youth He wa Trust everyone But always cut the cards Benny BinionThis is the story of Benny Binion, a Texas gangster who never met a mobster he didn t like, until he killed him He also helped to found Las Vegas, Nevada and brought poker to the forefront at his Binion s Horseshoe Casino now Binions on Fremont Ave in the old downtown of Las Vegas I enjoyed reading this biography of a Texan who decided money was all he wanted and would do anything to get enough after living in poverty in his youth He was a good family man, which seems to be standard for a mobster, not afraid to kill an enemy but cherishes family when at home Benny Binion killed at least four men but went to jail for tax evasion By the time he left Leavenworth, he had turned informant for the FBI Whether that was to get parole and his gambling license back and he just strung them along, or if he did get religion in prison I don t think it s clear in the book He was baptized Catholic and never missed the sacraments during his incarceration This book is a fun read and I did not know anything about Mr Binion until this book I only knew about the Mafia connections in Vegas, but Benny was a Texan, that when it got too hot for him in Dallas made the move to Las Vegas and saw the potential that Bugsy Siegel also saw There are plenty of funny quotes from Benny s mouth as he was never anyone that knew how to keep his mouth shut It makes for a very entertaining read or listen The narrator is John McLain and he does a fine job I understand this is going to be made into a movie and it should be fun to watch also Disclaimer I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in the expectation that I would review it This was an Advance Uncorrected Proof copy, and there will be changes to the final product.As the subtitle indicates, this is a biography of Benny Binion, who was born in a tiny town in Texas in 1904 to a horse trader s family, and rose through moxie, violence and crime to be a beloved fixture of Las Vegas Like many gangsters, Mr Binion s life makes for colorful reading, full of narrow e Disclaimer I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in the expectation that I would review it This was an Advance Uncorrected Proof copy, and there will be changes to the final product.As the subtitle indicates, this is a biography of Benny Binion, who was born in a tiny town in Texas in 1904 to a horse trader s family, and rose through moxie, violence and crime to be a beloved fixture of Las Vegas Like many gangsters, Mr Binion s life makes for colorful reading, full of narrow escapes, famous names and death.The picture painted of Dallas in the 1930 40s is not a flattering one Mr Binion started in the numbers racket, and eventually managed to break into the lucrative andrespectable dice gambling world He was perhaps a victim of his own success That and somebody kept trying to kill one of his major rivals, Herbert Noble, and everyone was pretty sure Mr Binion was behind it.So Benny Binion had to light out for Las Vegas, where gambling was legal and eventually became the owner of the Horseshoe casino, best known for its no limit dice games Later he also became the founder of the World Series of Poker.Like many gangsters, Benny Binion was a good friend to those he liked, and generous to the disadvantaged But get on his wrong side, and he did not stint on the anger As he got older, the people of Las Vegas preferred to remember his good side.Since Mr Binion tended to lie a lot, and quite a few allegations were never proved, the author has had to rely on secondary and unreliable sources for much of the story After lighting out for Las Vegas, the only thing Mr Binion was ever convicted on was tax evasion But there sure were a lot of people he didn t like that wound up dead under suspicious circumstances.There s also asides on various people who also affected circumstances in Dallas or Las Vegas, such as Howard Hughes, who almost inadvertently changed the way casinos were owned just so he could hole up in his room in peace.There are black and white photos at the beginning of the chapters, end notes sourcing the quotations, and a selected bibliography The index is not in the uncorrected proof, but should be in place for the final product scheduled for August 2014 I did not know about most of the information in this book, particularly the bits set in Texas It s a good book for true crime fans, and will have local interest for people in Las Vegas and Dallas it certainly makes a change from Chicago gangsters |FREE EPUB ☼ Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker ☻ The astonishing story of Benny Binion a rip roaring saga of murder, money, and the making of Las Vegas 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 Blood Aces tells the story of Binion s crucial role in shaping modern Las Vegas 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 J Swanson uses once secret government documents and dogged reporting to show how Binion destroyed his rivals and outsmarted his adversaries including J Edgar Hoover As fast paced as any thriller, Blood Aces tells a story that is unmatched in the annals of American criminal justice, a vital yet untold piece of this country s history I made a special effort to finish this book before heading to Las Vegas for a week s vacation The book will be available later this year I read a pre production copy that was a prize in a Goodreads contest The book is very readable, interesting, and informative I cannot imagine ainteresting and enigmatic character about which to write a book than Benny Binion From his early time as a traditional but local and lone gangster in the lawless west that Dallas was in the early 1900s to I made a special effort to finish this book before heading to Las Vegas for a week s vacation The book will be available later this year I read a pre production copy that was a prize in a Goodreads contest The book is very readable, interesting, and informative I cannot imagine ainteresting and enigmatic character about which to write a book than Benny Binion From his early time as a traditional but local and lone gangster in the lawless west that Dallas was in the early 1900s to his departure and to some extenttraditional role as a casino owner in Las Vegas, there are no shortage of stories, rumors, and allegations to make an easy read.I learned much about Binion and even some about Las Vegas His form of promotion and community spirit was unique, and his ability to be both ruthless murderous and kind friendly is difficult for me to identify with but it certainly made for a picturesque story.While I would have thought there was not muchto be told about Las Vegas this book shows how many characters formed the city and gambling industry I heartily recommend this to anyone interested in gangsters, crime, gambling, or Las Vegas I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads give away Enjoyable book about Benny Binion and organized crime in Dallas and Las Vegas Binion, much less known than his gangster contemporaries Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Mickey Cohen, rose to top of the Dallas underworld and eventually made his way to Las Vegas just as the city was turning into the gambling capital of the United States Swanson tells his story as well as the rise of Dallas and Las Vegas in the 20th Century in a I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads give away Enjoyable book about Benny Binion and organized crime in Dallas and Las Vegas Binion, much less known than his gangster contemporaries Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Mickey Cohen, rose to top of the Dallas underworld and eventually made his way to Las Vegas just as the city was turning into the gambling capital of the United States Swanson tells his story as well as the rise of Dallas and Las Vegas in the 20th Century in a breezy and entertaining narrative Filled with corrupt cops, oily politicians, colorful gamblers, and violent hoodlums, Blood Aces is a fun read for anyone interested in the history of organized crime and the American southwest I like to read history This was one of the most entertaining history books I ve read Doug Swanson tells the really interesting tale of Benny Binion and his times with a keen sense of humor and irony He never lets his humor take precedence over relating the story, which is good, but I often found myself chuckling at Swanson s observations and at the quotes of the people in the story Not being familiar with Las Vegas or poker, all of this information was new to me I hope Mr Swanson continues I like to read history This was one of the most entertaining history books I ve read Doug Swanson tells the really interesting tale of Benny Binion and his times with a keen sense of humor and irony He never lets his humor take precedence over relating the story, which is good, but I often found myself chuckling at Swanson s observations and at the quotes of the people in the story Not being familiar with Las Vegas or poker, all of this information was new to me I hope Mr Swanson continues to write histories