Tuesday September 24, 2019 at 3:46 pm
Breaking News

Alfred 'Al' Alvarez, noted poet and author, passed away at age 90. Alvarez is a renown poet but he is highly regarded in the poker industry because of his 1983 non-fiction book "The Biggest Game in Town" in which Alvarez captured the true essence of the 1981 World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas.


If it weren't for Al Alvarez, I probably would not be writing here or penning his obituary. I often credit two men for the advancement of my career. One of them is Chris Moneymaker and the other is Al Alvarez. Moneymaker helped ignited the poker boom with his victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker. However, it's what happened at the 1981 World Series of Poker that really launched my career.

If Al Alvarez did not make a heroic journey from London to Las Vegas to soak up the 1981 WSOP and then write about it in his book "The Biggest Game in Town", then I would never have had a shot at a job in the poker media.

Alvarez took a low-brow vice and gave it a true literary treatment, so that folks from all walks of life could take a ride through downtown Las Vegas through Alvarez's lush verbiage.

You can make a strong argument that no one in the mainstream square world would even read a word about the WSOP if Al Alvarez didn't take that initial leap of faith into the gambling realm.

Alvarez in turn inspired a new generation of American poker writers including Andy Glazer and Jesse May. I would not be here today without the Glazer and May blazing the trail in America. But that initial trail from the literary world to the Horseshoe was carved out by British poet Al Alvarez. Alvarez painted word pictures of downtown Las Vegas that have become a part of everyday vernacular in both Vegas and the gambling world.

It's funny but I knew Al Alvarez as a poet way before I knew about him as the Brit who wrote that gnarly poker book about cowboys and degenerates. That was a time when I probably spent more time trying to impress the NYC literati before I got super-hooked on Texas Hold'em.

Alvarez ran in the same circles as Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. He knew them both very well. The actor Jared Harris (Mad Men, Chernobyl) portrayed Al Alvarez in the film version of Sylvia Plath's life title "Sylvia". Gwenyth Paltrow played Sylvia Plath in a film that tried to shed some light on the complicated marriage between Plath and Ted Hughes during an era when Plath tried to break down the gender barrier in the insular poetry world.

Too bad we never got Jared Harris to play Alvarez in a 1980s period piece about the murky poker world in the shadows of dingy downtown Las Vegas. That's a poker movie I'd love to see. Heck, it's a Vegas movie I'm dying to see.

The Guardian's obituary mentioned that Al Alvarez wrote books in the 1980s about risk taking. That includes "The Biggest Game in Town" (1983) along with his divorce book (1982) and "Feeding the Rat" (1989), which chronicled his obsession to rock climbing.

The poet shifted his focus to novels and then nonfiction. Alvarez never stopped writing and he never stopped creating. He never pigeonholed himself in one form or genre. He kept moving and kept writing. He's problem erased more gems than I've ever published.

Alvarez never quite got all the accolades among the English literati that should have because he was not a kissass and loathed the "monsters" in the literary world. You can't blame him. I would have done the same and went a different route. Unfortunately, poets and writers with far inferior skills were showered with juicy advances, feted by the literary gatekeepers, and gobbled up the meaningless awards. Maybe some day, he'll finally get his due.

Al Alvarez

I've done a lot of climbing, played a lot of poker. There's an awful lot of laughing that goes on by the pond. I think anything is good for you that makes you laugh.

The poker world seems like this behemoth of a billion dollar industry, but it's really small all things considered. That's why when a genuine trailblazer like Al Alvarez dies, it hits home. Hard.

RIP Al Alvarez. Thanks for taking the initial leap of faith. Without your courage, I never would have made mine.

Latest news
Tuesday December 10, 2019 at 7:44 pm
Erik Gorman wins WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event

The 2019 World Series of Poker Circuit Cherokee at Harrah's in Cherokee, North Carolina concluded this year's Circuit series. Event #10, also known as the $1,700 buy-in Main Event championship, featured 1,000 runners taking a shot at a Circuit ring and over a quarter-million in cash. Despite coming into the final day with the short stack, Erik Gorman from Maryland went the distance and he was the last person standing after he defeated Hannah Guthrie heads-up to win his first WSOP Circuit ring and $260,480 in cash.

Thursday December 5, 2019 at 1:56 am
Milen Stefanov wins WPT Seminole Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open

The latest stop on the World Poker Tour reached the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Hollywood, Florida for the WPT Seminole Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open. This year's event attracted 988 runners and a prize pool over $3.16 million. This WPT final table included Milen Stefanov, David Novosel, Roman Korenev, Fabian Gumz, Francis Anderson and Cesar Fuentes. Bulgaria' Stefanov won his first WPT title when he picked off Gumz heads-up for the title, $545,070 in cash, and a seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.

Wednesday December 4, 2019 at 8:17 pm
Klay Thompson, Splash Brother and poker fish

Klay Thompson, an NBA All-Star and member of the Golden State Warriors, recently appeared on Kneading Dough with Maverick Carter to discuss finance but the chat delved into how Thompson spent a lot of money when he first entered the league and one of his big leaks happened to be the losing at poker against his much-better teammates like Steph Curry and David Lee.

Monday December 2, 2019 at 9:06 pm
Omar Lakhdari wins 2019 Unibet Open Paris Main Event

Omar Lakhdari faded a field of 480 runners to win the 2019 Unibet Open Paris Main Event at Club Circus Paris in Paris, France. The French-heavy final table also included Quoc Dung Le, Vladimir Nex, Malik Corbin, Alexandru Danes, Michel Leibgorin, Giuseppe Zarbo, Alexey Dmitriev, and Hakim Chniyat. Lakhdari, the top player on Algeria's money list, now has over $1.68 million in tournament earnings.

Wednesday November 27, 2019 at 6:44 pm
Michael Trivett wins WSOP Circuit Planet Ho, Paul 'Walnuts' Bianchi Binks HPT Championship

Las Vegas pro Michael Trivett faded a field of 778 runners to win the $1,700 buy-in Main Event at the 2019 WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Trivett banked $215,943 for the win and earned his first WSOP Circuit ring. Meanwhile, the fifteenth season of the Heartland Poker Tour concluded with its year-end Championship event at the Hollywood Casino in St. Louis, Missouri. Chicago's Paul 'Walnuts' Bianchi outlasted 353 players to win the HPT championship and $181,874.

Monday November 25, 2019 at 3:16 pm
Adrian Mateos wins partypoker MILLIONS World Bahamas for $1.1 million

Adrian Mateos, a Winamax sponsored player from Spain, outlasted a field of 948 to win the 2019 partypoker Live MILLIONS World Bahamas. A three-way chop secured $1,162,805 for Mateos, who outlasted a final table that included Chris Hunichen and Peter Jetten. It's been a good week at the Casino Baha Mar for Mateos, who also shipped a Super High Roller event for two titles in the Bahamas.

Tuesday November 19, 2019 at 6:02 pm
Daniel Dvoress wins 2019 Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas

Canadian pro Daniel Dvoress outlasted a field of 51 entrants to win the $250,000 buy-in 2019 Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas during at the Baha Mar Casino in the Bahamas. Dvoress won $4.08 million for defeating Wai Leong Chan heads up for the title. The tough final table also included Kathy Lehne, Erik Seidel, Seth Davies, Steve O'Dwyer, Jason Koon, and Justin Bonomo.

Monday November 18, 2019 at 10:22 pm
James Holzhauer wins Jeopardy TOC, will play at Caribbean Poker Party

James Holzhauer, a former online poker enthusiast and sports betting pro from Las Vegas, made waves when he went on an epic run on Jeopardy! earlier in the year with a 32-game winning streak. Holzhauer recently won the annual Tournament of Champions. He will also appear at the 2019 partypoker LIVE Caribbean Poker Party in the Bahamas with a special trivia event at the Baha Mar Casino.

Friday November 15, 2019 at 10:28 pm
Sam Soverel wins 2019 Poker Masters $50K Main Event and Purple Jacket

American pro Sam Soverel dominated the 2019 Poker Masters at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas with two event victories and seven final tables during the ten-event high roller series. He won Event #7 $25,000 PLO and took down Event #10 $50,000 NL Main Event for $680,000. In total, he banked $1.4 million including the coveted Purple Jacket.

Thursday November 14, 2019 at 8:58 pm
Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree split PokerStars, Power Up dunzo

Two more well-known pros are no longer sponsored players and members of Team PokerStars. Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree are no longer with PokerStars as the online poker giants shifts away from traditional sponsored pros. Meanwhile, PokerStars is also pulling the plug on Power Up Poker, one of the many new formats they introduced in the last few years that was more like a video game than old school poker.

Saturday November 9, 2019 at 12:32 am
Correction: Rob Campbell wins 2019 WSOP Player of Year after clerical error

The World Series of Poker issued a statement today to recognize Australian pro Robert Campbell as the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year and not Daniel Negreanu. They incorrectly awarded 2019 WSOP POY to Daniel Negreanu at the conclusion of the WSOP Europe because of a error in their database. After an investigation, the WSOP discovered Negreanu got awarded POY points in an event he did not cash. Campbell wins the 2019 WSOP POY with Shaun Deeb finishing in second place and Negreanu finishing in third place.

Friday November 8, 2019 at 2:58 am
Daniel Negreanu edges out Campbell/Deeb to win 2019 WSOP Player of the Year

Daniel Negreanu secured the 2019 World Series of Poker Player of the Year with a strong performance at the WSOP Europe at King's Casino in RozVegas that included seven cashes and a final table. Kid Poker caught Australian pro, Robert Campbell, who went into the WSOPE as the POY leader. Negreanu, a 6-time bracelet winner, won his third Player of the Year title, but became the first player to win POY without securing a bracelet victory.

Wednesday November 6, 2019 at 8:18 pm
PokerStars goes live in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, now the fifth largest state in America after edging out Illinois with 12.8 million residents, officially has online poker again when PokerStars PA went online during a soft launch on Monday. The official launch will be Wednesday, November 6, 2019.

Tuesday November 5, 2019 at 3:02 am
2019 WSOP Europe: ElkY wins Colossus for 2nd bracelet

The 2019 WSOP Europe concluded with the 15th and final event at the King's Casino in RozVegas. French pro Bertrand Grospellier, otherwise known as 'ElkY', won the Event #15 €550 Colossus NL for his second career bracelet. Elky faded a field of 2,738 runners to win €190,375. Shaun Deeb finished in 11th place but missed out on catching Daniel Negreanu for 2019 WSOP Player of the Year.

Monday November 4, 2019 at 8:20 pm
Geoffrey Hum wins 2019 WPT Montreal for $500,000 CAD

Nova Scotia's Geoffrey Hum outlasted 1,109 runners and an insanely difficult final table to win the 2019 WPT Montreal at the Playground Casino in Montreal. Hum defeated Colorado's Adedapo Ajayi heads-up to win $500,000 CAD. The rest of the stacked final table had over $46 million in career cashes including Joseph Choeng, Mike Watson, Kristen Bicknell, and Swedish pro Martin Jacobsen. Hum also won a seat into the season-ending TOC in Las Vegas in 2020.

Free tournaments and added prizes

The Club Poker organizes freerolls and special tournaments with added prizes.
To qualify for free, register on our poker partners websites:

Tournaments Club Poker
Big Poker League
tomorrow at 8:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday December 19, 2019 at 8:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday December 26, 2019 at 8:04 pm
$125 added
Big Poker League
Thursday January 2, 2020 at 8:04 pm
$125 added