Fading Hearts on the River

A Life in High-Stakes Poker

Choose a Format

On Sale: | $16.95

9781619025448 | Paperback 6 x 9 | 240 pages Buy it Now

On Sale: | $12.99

9781619023758 | Ebook | 288 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

Centered around multi–million dollar stakes and a series of nationally televised poker tournaments, Fading Hearts on the River offers a story of odds—the odds of a newborn surviving severe jaundice, the odds of Congress passing a law that renders one’s online gambling income inaccessible, the odds of drawing the right card on the turn or the river. In this tale of fatherhood and worldy success, Haxton follows his son Isaac’s unlikely career as a poker player, the nervous father often sitting on the sidelines with his fingers crossed or staring at a casino monitor while Isaac wins more in one hand of play than Haxton has earned from all his books of poetry combined.

In this deftly crafted story Haxton explores the propensity for abstraction, logic, and memory all good poets and poker players share, all the while taking readers on a rollicking tour of complex, intertwined topics, ranging from game theory and financial strategies, to medical mysteries and lost love, to chess, Magic cards, and Texas Hold ‘em. Guided by the through–line of a father’s love and admiration for his talented son, Fading Hearts delivers a unique perspective on professional gambling and one family’s experience playing the odds.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

"Another ambitious work of nonfiction that seeks to use poker as a window into matters of history and philosophy" —The Rumpus

"He puts his poetry skills to excellent use, spinning out language that is often beautiful and evocative. The book is not just about his son's competitive gambling career; it's also a poetic memorial to the poignant moments in his life, his son's life and their shared life." —Kirkus

"Haxton delivers a thoughtful and gripping memoir… Haxton weaves the events leading to his son's poker winnings with heartfelt accounts of various earlier times… Haxton nicely touches on the mathematics and psychology of poker playing…. [H}is gift for the poetic and lyrical shines, as he presents highly sympathetic descriptions of the denizens of casinos around the world where the various tournaments he describes are located." —Publishers Weekly

"... this tale is not just for gamblers. It is for anyone who likes to think about 'how to make luck happen'." —Booklist

"Loved the book—gave a sad groan when I saw I was out of pages—hugely compelling, kind, witty—an utterly charming & frank voice." —George Saunders

"I was knocked out by the narrative power and polymath brilliance, the elliptical beauty and elegance of thought inside a story with great momentum. It's a book about child rearing, money in absentia and in abundance, poker, the nature of chance, the psychology of deception ... I can see this being a cult hit." —Mary Karr

Praise for Brooks Haxton's work:

"A poetic voice very much his own: laconic yet intense, sceptical yet devout, rich in plangency and in praise." —Harold Bloom

"Extraordinary … strikingly original, rich, comic, and beautiful in the use of language." —Walker Percy

"The best translations from Greek poetry we have seen yet. Such juice, splendor, gall and melancholy, sweeping over the centuries to, simply enough, engulf and drown us in beauty." —Jim Harrison