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"Bigger Deal" Review

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TitleBigger Deal
AuthorAnthony Holden
Skill LevelAny
ProsShows how the poker landscape changed dramatically in the 17 years since Big Deal.
ConsToo many details about small, unimportant tournaments and cash games the author plays in.

Table of Contents
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xiiiAuthor's Note
15Give My Regards to Broadway1
31Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!2
53Minnie, Get Your Gun3
75Brunson at the Bellagio4
97From Yale to Walsall5
117The All-Out Move6
133The Kid Who Broke the Bank7
157My Moneymaker Effect8
175The Cards Don't Know9
195Kournikova's Revenge10
223The New Poker11
241The Gold Rush12
275How to Play Texas Hold 'em, with Ranking of Poker Hands
279Select Bibliography
281Glossary of Poker Terms

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When Anthony Holden's Big Deal came out in 1990, he had no way to know how inspirational the book would prove to so many poker players (casual hacks and future pros alike).1 He had even less inkling that poker itself would explode after decades in the smoky shadows into an immense industry with round-the-clock, round-the-dial television coverage, round-the-world multimillion dollar tournaments, and a new breed of online poker players who never needed to leave their house to play. Bigger Deal takes a look at the new world order as the author, one of the strongest poker-playing writers, travels around Europe and the U.S. to play in tournaments and cash games starting and ending with the World Series of Poker.2

Unfortunately, all of his traveling may have caught up with Holden. His marriage to "the Moll" began shortly after the previous book but ended in divorce a decade later. She shows up at one of the poker festivals as they are still friends, but he has no problem with knocking her out of a tournament. His sons are now old enough to play poker legally, and he buys one of them into a poker tournament as a birthday gift.

Besides Las Vegas, Holden plays poker -- now mostly No-Limit instead of Limit Hold 'Em -- in Connecticut (Foxwoods and Yale), Manhattan, the Caribbean, Monte Carlo, and England (London and Walsall). He's a good enough player to net after expenses enough to earn his buyin into the 2006 WSOP Main Event. He's still better at cash games than tournaments, but he has occasional successes in the latter.

Along the way, Holden covers the forerunner of the World Series of Poker,3 celebrity poker, poker camps, and online poker. He profiles Dave "the Devilfish" Ulliott, Andy "the Monk" Black, Doyle Brunson, Henry Orenstein,4 and Howard Lederer.

With the tremendous growth of the poker world since Big Deal, the sequel appeared as just one of a slew of poker books published in 2007. As such, it didn't garner nearly as much attention as its predecessor, and objectively it isn't nearly as important. But, it's almost as entertaining and equally non-educational.

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