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PokerNews Book Review: He Played For His Wife... And Other Stories

He Played For His Wife ... And Other Stories
  • The 17-story anthology features an array of poker-related stories to suit a variety of tastes.

As a writer who spends the majority of her day researching and writing, finding the time and energy to read for pleasure can be challenging. Mainly, because I usually fall asleep after one page.

This book was perfect for me. I could read a short story here and there as time allowed. And to be honest, I was a little sad when I finished the last one.

Their stories confirm the fact that poker is a game that impacts everyone in one way or another.

I'm not going to lie, when I sat down to write the review for He Played For His Wife... And Other Stories; Short stories of Long Nights at the Poker Table, I struggled with what to say.

I didn't struggle because I didn't have anything to say, but because I didn't want to take away from your experience of reading the stories for the first time.

The authors of the book, Anthony Holden and Natalie Galustian tapped into their networks to gather 17 exceptional storytellers that delivered by weaving rich tales around a game that has a colorful history.

I thought I would write about my favorite short story from the book, but they are all so different and I like each story for different reasons, making the picking of a favorite impossible.

Some of the stories included in the book come from familiar names in the poker community and some come from names you may or may not recognize with little connection to the poker world.

I naturally gravitated to the stories by authors that have known ties to the poker community including Barny Boatman, Jennifer Tilly, James McManus, and the book's co-author Anthony Holden. I feel a special connection to these authors because of my relationship with poker and writing. And after finishing the book, their stories remained some of my favorites.

I will also say, I was pleasantly surprised by the authors I wasn't familiar with. Not only do they have some impeccable credentials, but their stories confirm the fact that poker is a game that impacts everyone in one way or another.

You'll find stories that take you back in time, tap into the supernatural, and of course, there is the expected degenerate found in some unexpected circumstances.

Inside you'll find all the good components of an enthralling story: heroes and heroines, plot twists and endings that make you ponder.

If you are a poker fan, then there are a few stories in this book that may begin with a familiar feel, but end with you questioning what is real. And then there are some completely unexpected stories that will leave you with a desire to play more poker - if only to gather a short story of your own.

This book isn't just for poker players, it's for anyone who likes a good story — or 17 of them. And while poker is the consistent ingredient in each story, it isn't the poker that makes this book a great read. It is each author's experience and their relationship to poker that makes it feels as if you are experiencing the story with them.

This book isn't just for poker players, it's for anyone who likes a good story — or 17 of them.

Upon reflection, I realized that at the end of each of the short stories, I wanted more. Not necessarily more of a particular story, but more stories from the authors.

To be fair, you probably won't love every story in this book, but you will thoroughly enjoy enough of the stories to make the book a worthwhile read.

And you might not relate to every story told, but I promise you will enjoy taking the journey with each author.

He Played For His Wife... And Other Stories; Short Stories of Long Nights at the Poker Table is available on for pre-order. The book is currently scheduled for release May 29.

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