Peter Alson is the author of six books, including The Only Way To Play It, One of a Kind and The Vig (originally published as Confessions of an Ivy League Bookie). He’s an editor, the founder of Arbitrary Press, and a one-time professional poker player.
Born in New York City in 1955, he grew up in Greenwich Village, very much in the heart of the Bohemian literary world. Following in the footsteps of his mother, father and uncle, all of whom were writers, Peter began his first novel at the age of 17. Fortunately, no evidence of that effort remains. After college, he worked for a year as an associate editor at The Paris Review, then moved to L.A., where he tried to make a go of it as a screenwriter but mostly found himself working an assortment of odd jobs, including one repossessing cars that he quit after having a shot fired at him early one morning down a dark alley in Monrovia, California. Moving back to New York, he embarked on a freelance magazine career, publishing numerous articles in Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Playboy, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Life among others.
In the early 90s, he briefly took a job in Chicago editing a Playboy magazine start-up. But after the magazine folded, he once again made his way home to New York, stumbling into a job as a bookie, the experience of which in 1996 became his first published book, a memoir originally entitled Confessions Of An Ivy League Bookie, which he was hired by Paramount Pictures to adapt for the screen.
Peter’s other books include Atlas, the memoir of colorful boxing trainer Teddy Atlas (Ecco, 2005); Take Me To The River, a Wayward and Perilous Journey to the World Series of Poker (Atria, 2006), which tells the story of Peter’s reckless scheme to pay for his wedding by winning the money in Vegas, and Highway 61, a journal, accompanied by Joe Gioia’s photographs, of a trip down the highway made famous by Bob Dylan.
Peter lives with his wife, screenwriter Alice O’Neill, and daughter, Eden, around the corner from the house where he grew up in Greenwich Village.