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A page turnerAlthough thirty years old now, this is still a riveting read from a genuine author. There’s enough recognisable names to keep the modern reader ‘au fait’ and the stories of poker played in Morocco, on pleasure ships and in the old card rooms of London are fresh with nostalgia. What’s more, there’s not one mention of GTO, fold equity or 4-bet semi-bluffs. Happier times, when it was ok to admit that ‘playing the man’ (and it usually was a man) is the heart of any poker game.
This book is now more of a look at how poker was 18 years ago than much else, but that was actually really delightful. I felt like I got to know some of the oldschool poker greats (according to this book, Treetop was a sweetheart but Amarillo was a jerk). The prose seemed a bit too try-hard, and I felt like The Biggest Game in Town was an easier read and, unlike this book, more palatable to those not deep in the poker subculture.
I'm giving up on this one after 150 pages. It's not bad or anything, but it's indistinguishable from the two other "autobiography through poker" books I've read in the last few years (Positively Fifth Street and Poker Nation). At least Holden spares us the seemingly obligatory History of Poker chapter. (It was called Poque. They played it in New Orleans. It was five cards, face down, no draw. Blah blah blah. Yaaaaawn. Oh, and do you know why aces and eights is the "dead man's hand"?)
After a good result at the World Series of Poker, journalist Anthony Holden decides to take the leap from skilled amateur to out of his depth semi-pro.There are a few elements of Big Deal that won't work for everyone. The chapter on psychology is a bit dull, the history of poker stuff is unnecessary and a lot of the strategy concepts are completely out of date.But the book isn't a poker strategy book, history book or psychology book. It's a story of a journey that many of us recreational poker p...
Just finished my third read of this book. It is true what it says on the cover, the next best thing to playing poker is reading this book. A fun tale that gives you the chance to live vicariously through "London" Tony as he does what many of us wish we could: play poker for a living. It is a fun adventure through the Vegas of the 80s when comps flowed freely and the first super casino was just under construction. Highly recommended for all poker players, professional or amateur.
Amazing how someone as amateurish as Holden (every way he approaches pro poker is wrong!) can write one of the best books on poker I’ve ever written. He just gets across that Pre poker-boom world and the mindset of its protagonists so beautifully and entertainingly. Wonderful writer. Wonderful book.
Kinda dated but fun enough
Along with A. Alvarez’s The Biggest Game in Town (reviewed by me in 2005) and Jim McManus’s Positively Fifth Street (reviewed by me in 2004), Big Deal completes the holy trinity of poker documentaries. Alvarez’s book was more a series of essays and observations about poker in the early to mid 1980’s, with a focus on some of the characters who were successful at the game (especially Stu Ungar). McManus’s book was all about one year at the World Series of Poker, and how it intermingled with a famo...
I know if I had the name 'Anthony Holden' I would definitely welcome, and perhaps start, the nickname 'Hold'em Holden'. But Anthony Holden, I am not. However, through the course of this book, I learn that we do have a few things in common. A love of Texas Hold 'em mainly, dry as a Martini British wit and a desire to tell Rupert Murdoch where to go. Although I've never worked for The Dirty Digger so I've not had the pleasure of quitting his employ, but I imagine it to be quite satisfying. I mean,...
Journalist 'London' Tony Holden, clearly no slouch at the poker table, is emboldened by a boss placement at the World Series of poker (he finished ninetieth). He decides to see if he can 'run with the big boys,' or become a professional poker player. Thus begins a year of much intercontinental travel and poker play.Reading this account, it helps to be familiar with card games, especially Texas Hold 'Em; if you're not you might be perplexed or just bored by the play-by-plays of various hands ('th...
Great book, well written, but for 2015 it was a bit behind the times. As a classic, it was superb and excellent. I have Bigger Deal and I'm looking forward to reading it. This is writing at its best, a quality that I think the authors of our time today are struggling to keep up with. This was an enjoyable read, but went through some long and drawn out patches, hence I only liked it.
Fun book if you like the game of Poker!! I think everyone that has been to Vegas has at one time thought, What if I did this full time? This book makes it sound fun but yet so unpredictable that it would be hard to do. Good read!
Fun poker book, about one mans experience - not an instruction manual by any means! Very enjoyable, and I've read it many many times. Easy to read, not bogged down in heavy technical jargon, and filled with a healthy mix of "action" and anecdotes.
The classic Holden poker book that inspired a generation. Quality.
One of my three favorite gambling books. Great stories here.
Anthony Holden is simply the best poker writer in history. Bigger Deal does not reach the same heights as its predecessor but its still an excellent journey around the poker globe.
Fantastic book! A must read for anyone interested in poker
I enjoyed reading about the WSOP before the poker boom, when Hellmuth was a brash young kid and Stuey Ungar was still alive.
After reading the book, you have to wonder if he had set up shop in Vegas and decided to play poker full-time, would he ever has gone back to writing?
Vegas sounds like a hell mouth. Neat chronical of a book deal justifying a year of living strangely.
This is an entertaining book, but I believe its greater value lies in the way it points to an author who should be read by everyone who plays poker, David Spanier, or who gambles at anything at all.
fun, although I still can't remember what order the hands go in!
A fascinating read about a man's attempt to make it as a professional poker player.