In 1988, best-selling biographer Anthony Holden spent one year living the life of a professional poker player. His mesmerizing account of that year went on to become a classic of the genre, an inspiration to innumerable poker players and poker memoirists who followed. Big Deal is his story of days and nights in Las Vegas, Malta, and Morocco, mingling with the greats, sharpening his game, perfecting his repartee, and learning a great deal about himself in the process. Poker, Holden would insist, is a paradigm of life at its most intense, a gladiatorial contest that brings out the best as well as the worst in people. The heroes and eccentrics of the poker world stalk the pages of this remarkable book, along with all the hairraising, nail-biting excitement of the game itself.
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.
"Holden is the top writer in pokerdom." -- Martin Amis
"A remarkable odyssey -- part Damon Runyon, part Dostoevsky . . . His insights into the peculiar alchemy of character and fate that draws writers to poker turns his book into a high-stakes psychological thriller." -- Vanity Fair
"Poker, as Anthony Holden astutely points out, is a lot like life. This idea informs his very funny book, with its priceless descriptions of hands, bluffs, and fellow players." -- Los Angeles Times
"Mr. Holden writes with extreme grace and wit . . . [Big Deal is one of the] best books on poker." -- The New York Times
"An entertaining tale, made all the more so by Holden's smooth prose and gift for self-deprecation." -- The Washington Post