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‘Big Deal’ author Holden passes away at 76


The poker world received sad news over the weekend when it was revealed that famed author Anthony Holden passed away last Saturday, 7 October, at the age of 76.

Holden, who resided in London, suffered a severe stroke in August 2017, one that left him confined to a wheelchair with his left arm and leg inoperative. Fortunately, the stroke did not impair his memory and cognitive skills, and he even spoke about it with PokerNews in 2018.

Born on May 22, 1947, Holden was well known to poker fans as the author of 1990’s Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player and the 2007 follow-up Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker
Boom. More recently, he wrote He Played Poker for His Wife and Other Stories.

Big Deal documented Holden’s year on the poker circuit in the late 1980s and gave the mainstream a glimpse into the mysterious world of poker.

Holden ventured to Las Vegas, battled the biggest names in the game, and wound up with a profit of $12,300. He’d earn much more than that from the book that followed as it sold nearly a
million copies.

In Bigger Deal, Holden revisited the poker world after the “Boom” had occurred. He did so by playing in card rooms across Europe and America, in home games, and online. It was a generational transition for the game, and there was no one better to highlight it than Holden, who also served as the inaugural president of the International Federation of Poker (he served until 2013), which argued for poker to be classified as a mind sport, like chess.

Holden previously told PokerNews about his book: “I would say that Big Deal is now really a history book or a period-piece; it emerged from a much more colorful but now bygone world, pre-Internet, pre-much poker on TV, when the WSOP was still based in Glitter Gulch at Binion’s, whose eponymous founder and his family were still around to offer gold-standard anecdotes and bottomless pits of rich eyewitness material.”


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