The Biggest Game in Town is one of the most famous poker books written and its timing was especially important as it heralded the original ‘poker boom’ that began with the World Series of Poker and Binion’s Casino.
If you have read a lot of the stories from the greats of that era and seen any poker documentary about those times then this book will seem familiar, like a legendary friend of your mates that you happen to randomly meet and he is a top chap.
The Biggest Game in Town was written and published by Al Alvarez in 1983 but the main story line is about the 1981 WSOP. From the main story line branches off many a colourful, amazing and shocking true story, tall tale that we don’t mind being tall as they are so entertaining, jokes, anecdotes and many more things that pack every page.
But the real interest of this book is the characters who stride through it and Las Vegas and were pokers biggest game players. All the Old School poker characters and superstars are there and a lot more you may not have heard of.
The problem with this book is it makes you want to become a cash game superstar, or, on a wet dreary Monday morning say “Fuck this shit, I am going to Vegas Baby”. That is the poker addict speaking whereas any sane ‘Normals’ may take a good look at what poker can do to people and never set foot in a casino again or play poker. Yeah like that is going to happen to us poker addicts.
I have been warned by the owner of the poker site company that itself owns pokerQ4, who asked me to be a guest writer (sic), that I must not link to other poker sites or mention them. The problem is that he is a real keyboard warrior. If I ever do link to another poker site then when we meet he gives me a battering with a keyboard. But for those who want to get the feel of the book – the craziness and how the madness of Las Vegas and high stakes poker can effect peoples lives – there is no better way than to read a blog post by Jesse May (or any blog post Dr Pauly!).
At the risk of becoming comatose in the near future I have to say that Jesse May is perhaps the best poker writer I have read. After reading The Biggest Game in Town you can see that either this is where he got his inspiration and writing style from, or, this is the best and perhaps only way to write about real life poker.
Las Vegas – Part of the ship, part of the crew
The Biggest Game in Town is a must have for any poker lover. It is half about a bygone age but todays high stakes cash games players are still action junkies and prop bet lovers although they may be more ‘clean’ than the older superstars.
With the passing of the Old School, the creation of online poker and now that the State of Nevada will have legal online poker rooms you wonder if in 20 years time some one will be able to write a book similar to The Biggest Game in Town?
Then again Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederar, Ross Hamilton and others have shown the the shady and dodgy side of poker will perhaps never die. Characters like Mike Matsow show that living the Las Vegas life sometimes means becoming a Las Vegas life. Perhaps ‘it’ will never die out but evolve, the same as the game of poker has done.