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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.
In the years since Anthony Holden wrote his classic memoir Big Deal, the poker world has changed beyond recognition. When Holden played in the 1988 World Series of Poker there were 167 starters competing for a prize of $270,000. Since then, poker has become the world's largest single-competitor sport -- at the 2006 World Series there were almost 9,000 players and a first prize of $12 million, the richest in any sport. What happened in the years between Big Deal and Bigger Deal could never have been predicted: the Internet and television sparked a worldwide explosion in the popularity of poker, one that shows no sign of abating. Poker even has a respectable image these days, much to the disgust of die-hard players. Gone are the seedy rooms of the Horseshoe -- you can't even smoke at the table! -- and you're more likely to find yourself head to head with a film star than an ex-con in Las Vegas. With the future of online poker now legally endangered in the United States, Holden's vision of the poker boom comes at a critical moment in the game's history. In Bigger Deal, Holden is your guide to the world of the "new" poker -- to the players who dominate the modern game and the personalities behind the multibillion-dollar business it has become -- as he tries once again to win the world title. After all, as Telly Savalas once reminded Holden, a million dollars is never irrelevant. Not to mention twelve. . .
Grown men don't cry.But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men--distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights--confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.Their selections include classics by visionaries such as Walt Whitman, W.H Auden, and Philip Larkin, as well as contemporary works by masters including Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and poets who span the globe from Pablo Neruda to Rabindranath Tagore.Seventy-five percent of the selected poems were written in the twentieth century, with more than a dozen by women including Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope's famous phrase, "what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.From J. J. Abrams to John le Carré, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Billy Collins to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, and Seamus Heaney to Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world.
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