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Bigger Deal


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About the Author

Anthony Holden is an award-winning journalist who has published more than thirty books, including He Played For His Wife...And Other Stories and biographies of Laurence Olivier, Tchaikovsky, and Shakespeare. He has published translations of opera, ancient Greek plays, and poetry. He was director of European Film and Television at Exclusive Media, where he helped relaunch Britain's most famous film production label, Hammer. Anthony Holden lives in London.


Long before poker had achieved today's stratospheric level of popularity, British writer Holden chronicled the challenges and frustrations of a year on the professional poker circuit, in 1990's Big Deal. In this enjoyable sequel, he revisits the poker world, playing in card rooms and tournaments in Europe and America, in home games in his native London and online during 2005 and 2006. The result is a rich account of how the game and its players have changed over the 17 years since he tried (and failed) to become a professional poker player. He profiles a range of people, from poker's living legend Doyle Brunson to the new breed of young professionals, schooled on the Internet and ruthlessly aggressive, and explores the reasons for poker's recent, unprecedented boom. Holden is particularly good in charting the meteoric rise of online poker (and its ambiguous legal status in the United States). He's also adept at articulating his fascination with the game: "The thrilling sense of triumph when you sense something that turns out to be right; the disproportionate despair when you're wrong or the poker gods are against you." (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Holden-British journalist and author of many books, including biographies of Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and William Shakespeare-follows his seminal Big Deal: One Year as a Professional Poker Player with this companion. To see how the Internet and televised poker have changed the game since his first book in 1990, Holden lived poker for a year, participating in tournaments across the world, including the 2005 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Details of his games are mixed with well-written commentary on the history of poker and poker players, Internet poker, and televised poker. Though potentially overly detailed for some, especially those who do not know poker well, it provides an excellent level of insight and history of the game; the glossary is especially helpful. Among his conclusions, he notes a general trend of younger winners (in their early twenties) owing to the Internet's reach and the growing show-biz aspect of poker from celebrity participation and market placement of scantily clad women. Suitable for all public libraries.-Leigh Mihlrad, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine of Yeshiva Univ., Bronx, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Engaging...Holden has an endearing way of letting the reader into his head, turning descriptions of botched or brilliant poker hands into page-turning mini -narratives, discussing his mental demons and romantic travails in disarming detail. You can't help rooting for him."
--Susan Casey, The New York Times Book Review
"Bigger Deal will make nonprofessional poker addicts feel personally understood in ways no other book has ever managed to do. It has everything: wide cultural scope, poker table minutiae, success, failure, pain, Mozart operas sharing pages with telling analyses of flop texture, even more intercontinental action than its famous predecessor, and best of all, perspective on the Boom. No, best of all is the writing."

-- James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street

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