An overeducated underachiever, he's spent his postcollege decades doing his best not to grow up. Now, having just turned the incomprehensible (to him) age of fifty, and staring down his own mortality, this rambling- gambling bachelor decides it's time to settle down. After years of equivocating, he pops the question to his longtime girlfriend. A wedding date is set for just after Labor Day, and to pay for it, a plan is hatched involving poker and a trip to Vegas.
Alson boards a plane bound for the neon desert on his way to the biggest game in town, the 2005 World Series of Poker. Thus begins Take Me to the River, a first-person account of one inveterate gambler and bad boy's quest to grow up while at the same time compete with more than 5,000 players vying for over $56 million in prize money during a scorching Vegas summer.
Take Me to the River is a hilarious, heart-wrenching tale of Las Vegas and an exploration of what it means to be part of one of the fastest-growing and most popular sports in the United States, at the moment of its apogee, and of the lessons that poker has to teach about probability and luck, good and bad fortune, patience, perseverance, and -- most fitting for a man with marriage in his near future -- commitment.
Peter Alson is the author of the highly acclaimed memoir Confessions of an Ivy League Bookie and coauthor of One of a Kind, a biography of the poker champion Stuey Ungar, and Atlas: From the Street to the Ring: A Son's Struggle to Become a Man. Alson's articles have appeared in many national magazines, including Esquire, Playboy, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Alice, and their daughter Eden.
"[Alson's] transparent prose is ferociously honest and deceptively simple." -- Matthew Klam, author of Sam the Cat and Other Stories
"A compelling look inside the often tortured lives of professional gamblers." -- Mason Levinson, Bloomberg News
"Literary, smartly written." -- The Poker Gazette
"Alson is at his best in recounting pivotal hands from his tournament experiences. He expertly builds suspense while explaining how he observes his opponents for clues and calculates his chances of winning a hand." -- St. Petersburg Times
"Without question, one of the finest poker books ever written." -- James McManus, bestselling author of Positively Fifth Street