There are a lot of big poker names on the list of players for the European Poker Tour's London stop. Names like Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Gus Hansen, and many more are lined up to play for the big money at the Vic.
Many people in the new world of poker became interested in poker by watching 'Rounders'. The name Mike McDermott is as recognizable to today's internet poker player as some of the bigger 'real' players out there. There is another name that stands out for some of us as much as the name Mike McDermott – Anthony Holden. Holden's book 'The Big Deal' has possibly sparked as many people's interest in the world of poker as 'Rounders'. Originally published in 1990, 'The Big Deal' has become a classic poker read, and has stood the test of time in a poker world that is completely different than it was when the book came out. Holden's tale of his year as a professional poker player is a great read, and has many observations that hold true in the modern poker world.
Tony doesn't play much poker, as these days he is working on his next poker tome, A Bigger Deal, scheduled to come out in May of next year.
Holden, originally known as a political writer, has written speeches for Prince Charles, as well as biographies for Charles, Sir Lawrence Olivier, and books about Shakespeare, and Mozart.
Somehow, this Renaissance Man got drawn to the poker world. When he wrote his original book, Chris Moneymaker was probably in Junior High School.
Holden was at the Vic to play poker, though, and play he did. Not much was happening for Tony in the first few levels, and indeed his chip stack at the dinner break was just a few hundred under where it began.
Tony is known as playing pretty tight, and this night was no exception. I monitored his play most of the night, and the only hand I saw him play was his last. An early position player made it 900 to go (blinds 150/300), a middle position player called. Tony moved in from the small blind for his last 3,500 or so. The original raiser folded, and the middle position player called. Tony flipped over AQ, and his opponent 9 9. A seven high board produced a flush draw on the turn, but it was not meant to be tonight for Holden.
No one in this tournament really took notice of Holden, but nearly everyone in the poker world has taken notice of his writing. If you haven't yet checked out 'The Big Deal', its worth a look. Maybe the next time you play in a tournament, Holden will be sitting across from you.
Ed Note: Who knows who the guy sitting across from you at Pacific Poker is, just take his money.