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Running the Table


“This new release from Sports Illustrated writer Wertheim, who expertly reports a true life story reminiscent of The Hustler and The Color of Money, details the exploits of Danny ‘Kid Delicious’ Basavich, who, after dropping out of high school in the 1990s, went from being a suicidal, overweight teen to a legendary pool player.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“L. Jon Wertheim is one of America’s best sportswriters, but Running the Table is much more than just a sports book. Yes, this road story about a bipolar pool hustler is filled with colorful characters, rich detail, and rat-a-tat action. But it is also something more important: an authoritative account
of the last dying days of a great American subculture.”
Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak

“An enjoyable descent into the world of pool hustling.”
Kirkus Reviews

About the Book

The elusive world of the pool hustler is not widely known and is part of a dying subculture in today’s technologically savvy world. In RUNNING THE TABLE (Houghton Mifflin, October 9, 2007) Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim tells the true story of Danny “Kid Delicious” Basavich. You’ll be amazed how this overweight, bipolar kid with a voice like Wolfman Jack’s and an obsession with pool managed to stay incognito and hustle for as long as he did and win as much money as he did. RUNNING THE TABLE follows Kid Delicious and his setup man, Bristol Bob, on a four-year hustling odyssey in pool parlors and dives across America.

Danny was an alienated, depressed teen floundering his way through high school until he discovered his gift with a pool cue. He fell in love with the hustling scene, the sounds and characters of the pool halls, and the whole idea of pretending to be someone you’re not. He had a natural talent, and he knew it. At age fifteen, Danny dropped out of school to play pool full time. He became the oddly endearing Kid Delicious after a successful night at Chelsea Billiards in New York City, and then he hit the road to test his skill and learn the art of the hustle.

Delicious first heads to Connecticut, where he meets the guy with whom he’ll share many an adventure, Bristol Bob Begey, who becomes his hustling partner. Never was there a more entertaining or mismatched pair: Bob is serious, cocky, and standoffish, while Delicious is charming, lovable, and naïve. Bob is a fitness fanatic, and Delicious is slovenly. Bob’s pool game is about practice and hard work; the Kid’s is about native talent and instinct. But they somehow get along.

Wertheim takes you along with them as they travel the country from podunk pool dens in the Midwest to slick urban billiard palaces. With every stop the action gets hotter, the calls get closer, and Delicious’ prowess with a cue stick becomes more widely known.

In RUNNING THE TABLE: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler, Jon Wertheim paints a lasting portrait of an insanely talented and magnetic phenom. Kid Delicious and the bumpy road he travels are unforgettable. 

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