The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King

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The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time (ISBN 0-446-57769-3) is a 2005 book by Michael Craig detailing billionaire Andrew Beal's series of high-stakes poker games with Las Vegas' top professional poker players. The book title refers to some of the professional players involved in this series. The Professor is mathematical poker mind Howard Lederer, the Banker is Andrew Beal himself, and the Suicide King is crazy, sometimes reckless player Ted Forrest. It also refers to the King of Hearts, since on the card the King's sword appears to be put in his head.

The Professor, The Banker, and The Suicide King
Author Michael Craig
Country United States
Language English
Genre Poker, Gambling
Publisher Grand Central Publishing
Publication date
Pages 282 pages (Paperback edition)
ISBN 0-446-57769-3 (Paperback edition)
OCLC 57316628
795.412 22
LC Class GV1254 .C73 2005

Plot summary[edit]

The book tells about the highest stakes poker match of all time, over the course of a few years, between Andrew Beal and a group of professional poker players called "The Corporation." It begins as Ted Forrest, a professional poker player, is driving outside of Las Vegas when he calls the Bellagio poker room. The personnel in the poker room tell him the highest game is $10,000-$20,000 (which, at the time, was more than two times larger than any cash game ever played). He decides to go straight to the poker room, sit down with his last five hundred thousand dollars, and play against the other two men sitting at the table (Chip Reese and Andy Beal). Forrest had lost $400,000 without playing a single hand, and questions why he is there. The book then flashes back to February 2001, when Beal first visited the Bellagio poker room. He enjoys the atmosphere and the players, and meets many professional poker players, like Todd Brunson. He ends up winning over $100,000 and thinking it was luck, trains intensely to face the top players. Andy returns to Las Vegas, and wants to play heads-up with a professional for the highest stakes. Because they are in a casino, nothing can prevent other players from sitting down at the game, so the top professional poker players decide to pool their money with everybody who they thought would sit down at the game. Then Beal starts his match with Chip Reese. Beal and Reese play their match, and then Ted Forrest sits down. (Forrest was unreachable, so he was not originally part of the group.) Down to his last $100,000, Ted makes a stand and ends up winning $1.5 million. He is then asked to join the group, and for the rest of the book, nobody else sits down besides Beal and his selected opponent, who alternates throughout the story.

The book then chronicles the three years of matches between the professionals and Beal, with the professionals winning most of their matches, but Beal occasionally coming out on top. It also delves into personal stories of the pros and Beal. In March 2004, Beal loses 16 million dollars in two days, and vows to give up poker, which ends the book.

Post 2004[edit]

For two years Beal keeps his vow to quit poker, but returns to high-stakes poker in 2006. These later matches were described online by Craig for Bluff Magazine.


The group of professionals, known as The Corporation, is made up of Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Minh Ly, Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson, Howard Lederer, David Grey, Chip Reese, Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Lyle Berman and other assorted professionals. Many of them kept their identities anonymous, or were part of the group at different points in time.