Search for your sports books:

MoneyMap

Read Review
<back to archive

The Biggest Game in Town by Al Alvarez

Release date: 03rd March, 2003
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

List Price: 8.99
Our Price: 6.74
You Save: 2.25 (25%)
Buy Now

The idea of going to the World Series of Poker, playing the odd event and interviewing some of the game's biggest names may look like a blindingly obvious way to throw together a book these days - but a quarter of a century ago it must have seemed positively eccentric.

When British writer Al Alvarez flew out to Las Vegas in 1981 (the year of Stu Ungar's second victory), there were no online card rooms, no hole card cameras - there were only 75 entries for the WSOP main event, for goodness sake.

Poker's big names were not TV stars, but (mostly) men who had made a fair proportion of their bankrolls on the wrong side of the law. They were colourful characters, to be sure, but a book of tales interviewed out of the likes of Texas Dolly, Treetop Straus and Jack Binion was more like subcultural anthropology than celebrity journalism.

So, just as Herbert Yardley blazed a trail in the wit-and-wisdom field with his Education of a Poker Player and Doyle Brunson set the benchmark for how-to-play guides with Super System, Al Alvarez opened the batting for the I-was-there report with this little gem. And we say 'gem' because this volume was not just a first - it remains one of the very best.

Much of the book's raw material will now seem familiar, though that's partly because some stories are so good they have been retold many times in the intervening years (even, as Des Wilson has pointed out, the inaccurate ones). But what makes this book timeless are the author's keen eye for detail and superb ear for language. For Alvarez is a poet (we mean that literally not hyperbolically), so that even if some of the tales are a little stale, his sense of pace and polish keep this book as fresh as the day it was published.


<back to archive


MoneyMapp


SBOTM Current Top 10

Get It On: How the ?70s Rocked Football By Jon Spurling
Biteback
Read Review Buy Now
Time on Rock By Anna Fleming
Canongate
Read Review Buy Now
41-Love: A Memoir By Scarlett Thomas
Counterpoint
Read Review Buy Now
Anatomy of a Football Scout by Jon Cotterill
Camara Brasileira
Read Review Buy Now
Sweat: A History of Physical Exercise By Bill Hayes
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
52 Ways to Walk By Annabel Streets
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
Fit And Proper People By Martin Calladine & James Cave
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
God is Dead The Rise & Fall of Frank Vandenbrouke By Andy McGrath
Bantam Books
Read Review Buy Now
Butler to the World How Britain Became the Servant of Oligarchs, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals By Oliver Bullough
Profile Books
Read Review Buy Now
A Delicate Game Brain Injury, Sport and Sacrifice By Hana Walker-Brown
Hodder
Read Review Buy Now

© 2004-2022 Sharks Media Limited.