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  • Al Alvarez


    Al Alvarez is a poet, novelist, literary critic, anthologist, and author of many highly praised non-fiction books on topics ranging from suicide, divorce and dreams – The Savage God, Life After Marriage, Night – to mountaineering, North Sea oil and an autobiography – Feeding the Rat, Offshore, Where Did It All Go Right?

    He has written two books on poker: The Biggest Game in Town, the first-ever description of the World Series of Poker and the people who played in it, was published in 1983 and has remained in print ever since; Poker: Bets, Bluffs and Bad Beats, an illustrated survey of the history and psychology of poker, was published in 2001. His most recent book, Risky Business, contains several essays on poker and gambling.

    From 1984 to 1994, he played regularly in the World Series, but only once, in 1994, in the main event. Al was born in London and lives there to this day.

    Al's Blogs

    • 09 May 2007 - The real source of anxiety

      On-line the other day, a player responded to a particularly cruel bad beat by launching into a bitter tirade against the injustice and dishonesty of all internet poker sites. The games were fixed, he wrote, most of the players were shills working for the virtual casinos, innocent amateurs like him didn’t have a chance. And […]

    • 26 Apr 2007 - A game of skill?

      How long, O Lord, how long until poker is officially classified as a game of skill? It didn’t happen in 1960 when Parliament passed the Gaming Act which legalised casinos in the UK, thereby putting out of busin ess not only all those sleazy basements in Gerrard Street where Greek hard men played stripped-deck five-card […]