For the better part of a century, poker and gambling have been woven into the very fabric of American popular culture, penetrating movies, television, literature, politics, you name it. Poker has been idealized and exalted at various points in our history, as well as denigrated, denounced, and forbidden.
Martin Harris, PokerNews Associate Editor and Head of Strategy Content, is our very own poker and pop culture historian to lead us through the history of poker’s stormy rise in American society.
Harris, a professor at UNC Charlotte, has been interested in how poker has been depicted in various types of media since he discovered the game, like many others, during the Moneymaker craze in the early 2000s.
The Scholar’s Eye of Poker and Pop Culture
What began as an academic interest in popular culture – Harris has written scholarly essays on horror films such as The Blair Witch Project and Halloween – has evolved into a detailed investigation of America’s connection with the game we all know and love.
As Harris expressed it, he was curious about “why some things become highly popular and how the things we find popular reflect something about the culture.” This is the best slot gacor for all.
“The fact that poker is such a popular game reveals a lot about Americans and the individuals who play it: what thrills and fascinates them, and what their values are. That, I suppose, kind of prepared me for this way of talking about poker or researching poker’s history.”
The book chronicles poker’s long and winding journey alongside American culture, which, of course, encompasses a wide range of time periods, genres, and people groups.
“Poker has already been played by presidents and farmers, at dining tables and final tables, for matchsticks and millions,” according to the book description.
Poker and Pop Culture Shows Poker’s Evolution
These stories and representations will be explored in the book, which will chart poker’s evolution “from 19th-century steamboats and saloons to 21st-century virtual tables online.”
In 2006, while teaching college full-time and playing online poker on the side, Harris merged his newfound poker pastime with his fascination with poker in pop culture to create the Book Project. He began a blog in which he analyzed some of the portrayals of poker in various media forms that he encountered in Rolling Stone Magazine stories.
Many readers found the material intriguing, and in 2007, Haley Hintze. He requested Harris to write for what would become the Poker and Pop Culture column. Some of those early pieces from 12 years ago made it into the book, establishing the beginnings of the book report that would grow a decade later.
Harris continued to investigate and write on the popular subject for other media, and in 2011, he developed a program called “Poker in American Film” for an American Studies Program. The course, which curiously coincided with poker’s online extinction in the U.S. (Black Friday), went into the history of poker and pop culture portrayals of the game, notably in movies.
What is Material Library that Harris Owned
As a result, Harris’ material library expanded in size, especially as he became the go-to person for forwarding fascinating or obscure poker and pop culture allusions. For all of the reasons mentioned, Harris was in a rare position to combine all of the history and anecdotes into a book.
According to noted poker author Tommy Angelo: “This book had to be published, and only one individual was capable of doing it. Martin’s enthusiasm and competence has been poker’s position in our society for as long as I’ve known him. Poker is a thousand-story collection, and they’re all here.”
Poker and Pop Culture : Process of Compilation
One of the most difficult obstacles Harris encountered in making his data into a palatable read was narrowing down 12 years of study spanning two centuries. They agreed on a structure by subjects that also generally follows a chronological order, from poker on the Mississippi to the Old West to the Civil War, and so on, after much preparation and multiple variations.
Readers will find additional genre-specific chapters as they progress through the book, such as poker in the movies, literature, television, and the White House, making it easy for those interested in a certain topic to find it.
With 23 chapters in the final form, the book is still pretty big but manageable, and Harris even took on the work of producing a full audio version of the book for those who’d prefer to listen to the rich history of poker knowledge rather than scroll through it. Both versions are presently on the market for purchase.