Biggest collection of poker books ever goes on sale in London

A truly unique collection of rare books, photographs and prints on poker and gambling goes on sale in London this week. ‘ALL IN’ has been a labour of love for book dealer Natalie Galustian. She has spent several years putting the collection together and it has just gone on exhibit at her shop in London’s West End.

The catalogue opens with a truly impressive collection of first and rare editions of books on poker, charting the rich history of the game and its evolution throughout the 19th and 20th century.

Anthony Holden, author of the much-loved and admired poker memoir *Big Deal*, has provided a warm introduction to this catalogue which he describes as “a compendious cornucopia of sumptuous delights”.

In it you will find the first book ever to mention poker in English; rare editions of John Blackbridge’s *The Complete Poker Player* and Robert Cummings Schenck’s*Rules for Draw Poker* – both virtually unfindable outside of institutional libraries; the first edition of a book on the Italian game Primiera, or Primero, published in 1534, which is considered *the*ancestor of the game of modern poker; and classics by writers such as Herbert O. Yardley, Doyle Brunson, Al Alvarez and, of course, Anthony Holden.

Galustian says “the wealth, quality and scholarly nature of the writing on poker and the evolution of its rules proves it to be a game of skill, not chance, and that a library such as this further endorses the professional nature of what poker players do for a living.”

The gambling section of the catalogue offers some renowned high spots of the genre and personally selected works of intrigue, rarity and importance – a first edition in the original vellum of*La Maison Academique*, published in 1654 and arguably the most influential anthology of games;*Carmen Ludo Magistri*, a neo-Latin poem published in 1504 by Johannes Faber on the perils of gambling; a beautiful 18th century edition of Hoyle’s games – the last published in his lifetime; 19th century comic poems on gambling with hand-coloured plates by George Cruikshank, who famously illustrated Charles Dickens’ *Oliver Twist*; and an annotated race card from the poet laureate of drinkers and gamblers, Charles Bukowski.

‘ALL IN’ – a collection of rare and first edition books, photographs and prints on poker and gambling is on exhibit at Natalie Galustian Rare Books, 22 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4HE and online at For further enquiries contact Natalie Galustian on 020 7240 6822 or