The Hustler (1959)
by Walter Tevis
To Fast Eddie Felson, pool was all about winning. What mattered most was hitting the big time - and big money. It took him from two dollar games in one-horse towns. Chicago, where a match against the legendary Minnesota Fats would prove him the best... or a loser.
He was beaten, though he should have won. Driven to start all over again - backed by a shrewd gambler and a cynical love-hungry woman - Fast Eddie has to prove he knows the difference between winners and losers. Then he'll be ready for another epic confrontation with Minnesota Fats. Only this time Fats mustn't stand a chance...