A smoke-filled room. The clink of chips breaking the silence of furious concentration. The occasional muttering of "check," "raise," and "fold," as staggering amounts are wagered on a simple hand of five cards. In this new paperback edition, acclaimed writer A. Alvarez narrates the history of poker -- its most amazing stories, unforgettable players, and incredible hands. From the first great Las Vegas poker marathon, in which Nick the Greek played Johnny Moss for five months straight, to the more recent World Series of Poker, Alvarez captures a subculture rich with legend. His lively text is combined with a colorful array of poker-inspired art, advertisements, movie stills, and photos to create an entertaining ode to the pastime that is not so much a game of cards as a way of life.