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Announcement, an electronic publishing company based in Orange County, California, is pleased to announce the publication of two anthologies of gaming writer, Murphy James. He has written in the areas of poker, blackjack, craps, and gaming in general for business journals, men's magazines, regional publications, and newspapers.
Murphy James - Gambles and Gamblers: Mostly Poker and Some Other Stuff Murphy James - Poker People
ISBN 978-0-9797070-4-9       ISBN 978-0-9797070-5-6
Gambles and Gamblers: Mostly Poker and Some Other Stuff is composed of 48 articles beginning with "World's Greatest Gambles and Gamblers." Murphy James writes about people who gamble millions of dollars at poker, blackjack, and craps and who still, so they say, sleep at night.

He writes, "I find the game of poker to be interesting. I find the people who play it to be fascinating."
Poker People consists of 18 articles about the famous and not-so-famous names in the poker kingdom. Beginning with "Poker Chicks," Murphy James takes you through three generations of players: the great, the nearly-great, and those who aspire to be great.

Of his interview with World Series of Poker winner, Jack Straus: "Jack told me many funny stories about himself. I suspect some of them were true."
"Hey, Murphy James writes about me, my boyfriend, my brother and my Dad. Can't go wrong here. Read and enjoy." Annie Duke, leading female money winner of all time on the pro poker tour. "What fun to read the stream of perceptive, stylish, spot-on articles coming from your pen." Dr. Richard Lederer, co-host of National Public Radio's "A Way with Words."
"Knowledgeable, eloquent interviews of the stars of America's greatest game, written by one of its greatest fans." Al Alvarez, author of The Biggest Game in Town.

As "Murphy James," Harry Murphy has interviewed and written about the pioneers of poker: Doyle Brunson, Jack Straus, Amarillo Slim, and David Sklansky.

Today he interviews and writes about the new superstars of poker as well as articles on the gaming culture.

He is a Contributing Writer for Strip Las Vegas Magazine.

He is an active lecturer on cruise ships and elsewhere on the "Legends of Poker" and "World's Greatest Gambles and Gamblers."

Murphy began writing and publishing in the early '80's. His interviews with World Series of Poker winners and famous blackjack card counters such as Stanford Wong and Jerry Patterson were published in a number of mainstream and regional magazines, men's magazines, gaming publications, and newspapers.

His articles on Ronald Reagan's 1954 appearance as a Vegas act, "When the Gipper Played Vegas," earned him a personal letter from the President. This letter was selected as one of Reagan's most interesting letters and appeared in the book, "Reagan: A Life in Letters."

He has also published in business journals such as Entrepreneur and Income Opportunities.

Dr. Richard Lederer, co-host of NPR's A Way with Words, on Murphy's work: "What fun to read the stream of perceptive, stylish, spot-on poker articles coming from your pen."

Murphy James with...
Murphy James with Howard Lederer
Murphy James with Annie Duke
Howard Lederer
Annie Duke
Murphy James with Phil Gordon
Murphy James with Marcel Luske
Phil Gordon
Marcel Luske
Murphy James with Annie Duke and Marcel Luske Murphy James with Al Alvarez
Annie Duke and
Marcel Luske

Al Alvarez, author of The Biggest Game in Town
Photo by Carl Brown

Jim McManus Murphy James with Clonie Gowen
Jim McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street Clonie Gowen
Murphy James with Andy Bloch Murphy James with Richard Lederer
Andy Bloch Dr. Richard Lederer: Father of Howard Lederer and
Annie Duke
Murphy James with Robert Williamson III Murphy James with Matt Savage
Robert Williamson III Matt Savage: Tournament Director, World Series of Poker
Actor Joe Reitman: Tournament Winner and Annie Duke's beau  
The Biggest Game in Town

Al Alvarez' book, The Biggest Game in Town, published in 1983, has been a major influence in my freelance writing career. One reviewer called it "the origin of contemporary poker literature."

After I read Al’s book, I no longer wanted to, I had to – I absolutely had to, I had no other choice, my life would not be complete - unless I also wrote about poker.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez
Photo by Carl Brown

It was a privilege for me to meet and interview Al Alvarez at his home in Hampstead, near London, in February, 2006. I wrote an article about Al for Poker News, "Al Alvarez: The Poet Laureate of Poker," which appeared in March of 2006. Al also put me in touch with Anthony Holden, a dear friend of his who wrote the books, Big Deal and Bigger Deal. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony and wrote an article about him, also for Poker News: "A Bigger Deal is on the Way." I now visit Al and his wife, Anne, on my 2X per year trips to London.

Al's good friend, fellow author David Cornwell, aka John le Carre, says of Al: "He is the most chivalrous and best-mannered man you or I are likely to meet." He adds, "You never part from Al without feeling a couple of degrees jollier." True, true, true.

My interest, like Al's , is in the culture of poker.  While I find the game interesting, I find the people who play it, fascinating.  Katy Lederer (Poker Face) refers to the head and the heart of poker.  Alvarez wrote about the heart of the game. This is what I wanted to do, too.

The Biggest Game motivated me to wrangle a media pass to the 1983 World Series of Poker (WSOP) at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson
Photo courtesy of

With knees knocking, I approached the great Doyle Brunson – two time WSOP winner prominently mentioned in Al’s book - and asked for an interview.

“What publication are you with?” he asked.

I said that I was a freelancer, didn’t have an assignment, had no articles published in this field, and had no assurance that anyone would be interested in what I wrote. In other words, I hadn't a clue about what I was doing.

Brunson laughed and said, "Sure, let's talk."

Doyle was kind, patient, and generous with his time. How many rookie journalists get their first interview with one of the world’s best players? With one of the nicest persons in the field?

As a result of this interview, I got my first hit in the area of poker. "Texas' Ace Gamblers" was published by a Dallas newspaper.   Thanks to Doyle, Murphy James was now out of the gate as a poker writer. 

Other interviews and other publications in poker, blackjack, and gambling in general, followed.  Business articles also came along.

I once asked WSOP winner Jack Straus, "When's the last time you bet the rent money?"  He looked at his watch and laughed.  "About 15 minutes ago," he said.  Jack told me a lot of funny stories.  I suspect some of them were true.

I interviewed Amarillo Slim Preston, another WSOP winner, in Lake Tahoe.  With most interviews, the players are pressed for time and the journalists talk fast to get it all in. 

With Slim, I had to say, "Thanks, Slim, but I gotta go now.  Slim, I gotta go.  Slim!"

I interviewed David Sklansky and had him critique my (poor) 7 card stud game.  It cost me breakfast and a modest consulting fee. He gave me good advice. My game improved a little, but I kept my day job.

The Biggest Game detailed the 1981 World Series. The top prize was $375,000.  It went to Stu Ungar.  I saw Stuey play, but never met him, never interviewed him.  I wish I had.  He's gone now.

How things have changed.

The use of the "lipstick camera," pioneered by the World Poker Tour in 2003, has brought intense interest to the game.  It seems like poker is on TV 24 hours a day.  The poker stars have become media celebrities. 

One startling piece of evidence about the growing popularity of the game is the 5600+ players who signed up at $10,000 each for the 2005 World Series of Poker, creating the largest prize pool in history.

"The Biggest Game" gets bigger and bigger. 

In 2005, Aussie Joe Hachem, a former chiropractor, took home a top WSOP prize of $7.5 million dollars.

In contrast, Tiger Woods took home $1.26 million for winning the Masters in the same year.  Maybe Tiger should drop the driver and pick up poker.

We are also witnessing another interesting aspect of the poker culture: the highly deserved visibility of the philanthropic efforts of the top players.  For example:

  • Barry Greenstein has donated $3 million dollars (and counting) in tournament winnings to various charities.
  • Phil Gordon has raised millions for the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation.
  • Jen Harman, who has had two kidney transplants, works on behalf of organ donation organizations.
  • Clonie Gowen, whose mother is a survivor, works on behalf of Ovarian Cancer organizations.
  • Mike Sexton won a million dollars in a WSOP Tournament of Champions and donated $500,000 of it to five different charities.

And many others have lent their names to tournaments and other special events to raise money for tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita victims.

Could I conclude anything but this: these are not just good poker players, these are good people.

With thanks to Al Alvarez.

Murphy James

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Contact Murphy James for:

  • Writing Assignments
  • Interviews
  • Speaking Engagements

Murphy James' Illustrated Lecture Series:

"Legends of Poker"


"World's Greatest Gambles and Gamblers"



66 articles of Murphy James have been consolidated into two ebooks, Gambles and Gamblers, and Poker People, published by




Princess Sapphire


Sapphire Princess

to Mexico


Dawn Princess

to Mexico

NCL Pride of America

Hawaiian Islands


Murphy James lecturing aboard the Dawn Princess, Acapulco, Mexico

Murphy James lectures on "Legends of Poker," Dawn Princess

Acapulco, Mexico


Interviewed Max Rubin, Member, Blackjack Hall of Fame and Co-Host, Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS

Max Rubin
Max Rubin
Photo courtesy of Ultimate Blackjack Tour

Interviewed Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari about his lifestyle ("Poker Like a Rock Star") for a feature piece in Strip Las Vegas Magazine.

Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari
Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari
Photo courtesy of Antonio Esfandiari

Interviewed Jennifer Harman (one of the team of pros who played in the richest poker game in history) re: her work on behalf of organ donation organizations

Jennifer Harman
Jennifer Harman
Photo courtesy of

Interviewed Barry Greenstein ("Ace on the River") re: his charitable efforts

Barry Greenstein
Barry Greenstein
Photo courtesy of

Interviewed Phil Gordon ("The Real Deal") about his fundraising for Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation

Phil Gordon
Phil Gordon
Photo courtesy of

Interviewed Phil Hellmuth, World Series of Poker champion, about his poker camp

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Photo Courtesy of
Camp Hellmuth

Interviewed gambler and author, Jerry Patterson ("Casino Gambling") about his blackjack, craps, and roulette systems

Jerry Patterson

Photo courtesy of

Jerry Patterson

Interviwed Andy Bloch about being a member of the MIT Blackjack Team that is featured in the Ben Mezrich book, "Bringing Down the House"

Photo courtesy of


Murphy James is interviewed on KVEC Talk Radio 920, The Dave Congalton Show:

"Harry Murphy (Murphy James) is a radio interviewer's ideal guest. He spins one fascinating story after another, putting us at the table with the greats from the game of poker. We definitely are looking forward to his next appearance!" *

* Dave Congalton
   Clear Channel / KVEC 920
   San Luis Obispo, CA

The first interview:

Murphy James on

"Legends of Poker"

Click Here

Murphy James and Dave Congalton in the KVEC 
Studio in San Luis Obispo, CA
Murphy James and Dave Congalton in the KVEC Studio in San Luis Obispo, CA

The Second Interview:

Annie Duke joins

Murphy James on

"The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006"

Click Here

Each of these interviews takes about 30-45 seconds to download

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Copyright © 2013 Murphy James. All rights reserved. Site updated 02/26/2013