Running the Table
The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler
By L. Jon Wertheim
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618664740, 272pp.)
Publication Date: October 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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From a popular senior writer for Sports Illustrated comes this high-stakes, boys-on-the-road story about the most unlikely of phenoms--a heavyset, bipolar, and endlessly charming pool hustler named Kid Delicious
In most sports the pinnacle is Wheaties-box notoriety. But in the world of pool, notoriety is the last thing a hustler desires. Such is the dilemma that faces one Danny Basavich, an affable, generously proportioned Jewish kid from Jersey, who flounders through high school until he discovers the one thing he excels at--the felt--and hits the road.
Running the Table spins the outrageous tale of Kid Delicious and his studly--if less talented--set-up man, Bristol Bob. Never was there a more entertaining or mismatched pair of sidekicks, as together they go underground into the flavorfully seamy world of pool to learn the art of the hustle and experience the highs and lows of life on the road. Their four-year odyssey takes them from Podunk pool halls to slick urban billiard rooms across America, as they manage one night to take down as much as $30,000, only to lose so much the next night that they lack gas money to get home. With every stop, the action gets hotter, the calls get closer, and Delicious’s prowess with a cue stick becomes known more and more widely. Ultimately, Delicious sheds his cover once and for all and becomes professional pool’s biggest sensation since Minnesota Fats.
In a book sure to appeal to fans of Bringing Down the House and Positively Fifth Street, Wertheim evokes a subculture full of nefarious but loveable characters and illuminates America’s fascination with games and gambling. He also paints a lasting portrait of an insanely talented and magnetic hustler, who is literally larger than life.
L. Jon Wertheim is the author of three previous books and the forthcoming Blood in the Cage: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC. Film rights to Running the Table were optioned by Lions Gate, and the film is currently in development. He is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and lives in New York.