by Al Alvarez // Picador
Illustration by Eddie Guy
Al Alvarez touched down in Las Vegas one hot day in 1981, a poker novice and a stranger to the excesses of the American game. Soon enough he was in the casino back rooms and musty bars of Las Vegas, meeting the flamboyant characters who dominate the World Series of Poker—roving gamblers who have won and lost many fortunes at the tables. Set over the course of one tournament, The Biggest Game in Town is both a chronicle of the World Series of Poker and a history of the hustlers, madmen, and masterminds who created the high-stakes game in America. With a new introduction by the author, Alvarez’s classic account is one of the greatest gaming stories ever told.
My original concept was to depict a city built on poker. I hired collage illustrator Eddie Guy to bring this idea alive. He collaged up the Las Vegas Strip out of playing cards and poker chips. But trying to depict the Strip was less than satisfying. We focused instead on the larger than life personalities of these poker mavericks. Thus, Giant Poker Guy.
Poker Hand Rankings (Because you got to know when hold 'em, know when to fold 'em):