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    Hold Me, Darling (Part 5)

    If the first version of poker arrived in the United States in the 1820s, imported by French sailors landing in Louisiana, it took another hundred and fifty years for ‘community card’ variants to catch on. Then, just as the poker revolution was catching fire in the early 21st Century, a Texan dealt a lethal blow to the game invented in his home state.

    Hold Me, Darling (Part 4)

    Texas Hold’em was introduced to Europe in the 1980s by the Irish bookmaker and poker entrepreneur Terry Rogers. Nicknamed the ‘Red Menace’ because of his ginger hair and bursts of belligerence, Rogers was one of the first Europeans to travel to Vegas each May for poker’s world series. At the 1980 event, he was the only bookmaker not to write off Stu ‘The Kid’ Ungar too soon, quoting him at 20-1 while all else were offering 100-1; Ungar went on to win the first of his three world crowns, beating Doyle Bruson in the heads-up.

    Hold Me, Darling (Part 3)

    Bill Boyd, Sid Wyman, Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, ‘Sailor’ Roberts, Amarillo Slim, Jack Straus, Crandell Addington – nearly all the legendary players we have already met, with the notable exception of Major Riddle, were sooner or later accorded places in the Poker Hall of Fame established in 1979. As indeed was the toughest entrepreneur of them all, if not himself much of a player, Benny Binion – none too surprising, since Binion himself founded the Hall of Fame on a suggestion from his then poker manager, Eric Drache, as a marketing ploy for an annual tournament he started in 1970 called the World Series of Poker (WSOP). In 2005 Binion’s son and successor Jack was also enrolled in the Hall of Fame, for his role in maintaining and building the World Series through the latter decades of the twentieth century.

    Hold Me, Darling (Part 2)

    Where once stood the Dunes now stands the Bellagio, opened in 1998 by the one-man force behind contemporary Las Vegas, Steve Wynn, who himself fired the cannon from his latest Strip resort, Treasure Island, that appeared to trigger the implosion of the Dunes – watched by millions on live television and since immortalised in the closing credits of Wayne Kramer’s 2003 movie The Cooler. So the spot where No Limit Hold’em was first played on the Strip is now the home of Vegas’ leading card-room – rivalled only by the sleek poker room Wynn opened in 2005 in the 215-acre, $2.7 billion Wynn, the eponymous hotel-casino he built after selling his Mirage chain to Kirk Kerkorian’s MGM Grand group in 2000 for $4.4 billion.

    Hold Me, Darling (Part 1)

    ‘This is poker?’ asked an incredulous Life magazine on 16 August 1968. Inside an issue leading on the Nixons and the Agnews, a partnership that would last all of five years, there lay buried an article introducing mainstream America to something rather more enduring: a ‘wild’ new variant of its national game of poker, called ‘Hold Me’. Above a colour photograph of no fewer than twelve men crowded around a green-baize table, most of them wearing suits and ties amid a profusion of splashed chips, exposed cards and overflowing ashtrays, the magazine sniffed that ‘the decorous mob scene below looks more like a group therapy séance down at the poker-chip factory.’

    Very Clever, Mr. Bond… (Part Three : DUTHIE INNOCENT)

    All of which means that one table in particular must have quaked into its Martinis as they took their seats in the Casino Copenhagen, as the 2006 EPT tour reached Denmark. Forget former world champion Tom McEvoy and poker legend T.J. Cloutier (more than $9 million in lifetime winnings between them), who had crossed the Atlantic for the occasion. Also taking his seat on Day One was none other Bond villain Le Chiffre himself!

    Very Clever, Mr. Bond… (Part Two)

    The next big clash between our hero and his nemesis involves a third player, Bond’s CIA friend Felix Leiter. We join the action after the turn. The communal cards are: Jh-Ks-Ac… Jd. The American bets $300,000. Bond and Le Chiffre both call. The straight is very much on, but surely, again, one of them now has the full house?

    Very Clever, Mr. Bond… (part one)

    With the release of the new James Bond film, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, and the simultaneous publication of Anthony Holden’s new strategy manual, HOLDEN ON HOLD’EM, BiggerDeal.com proudly presents an exclusive, three-part extract from the book, in which Holden examines the poker played by Daniel’s Craig 007 in the last Bond film, CASINO ROYALE.

    THE POKER ENCYCLOPAEDIA

    Looking for a last-minute Christmas present for that poker-player in your life? Look no further than The Poker Encyclopaedia, newly published by Portico at a mere £14 (or just £10.49 from amazon). Handsomely bound in green baize, believe it or not, this indispensable work contains all the info you could ever need to check out [...]

    The Next Poker Book You Have To Read

    Preamble I will take it as stipulated that you read poker books. If you don’t, um, either you’re not interested in poker (which makes me wonder why you’re reading this), [1] or you play poker and don’t read poker books (which makes me wonder why you’re not in my game). I am inalterably persuaded that [...]