Jimmy Spain was a professional poker player before he was sent up for ten years on a murder rap. When he was released a few years early he has no doubt his old cellmate, the incredibly rich Harold Landrigan was responsible so it’s no surprise when Landrigan requests a meeting. Landrigan offers to set Spain up with everything he needs to begin a new life, including buy-ins on the poker tour if he agrees to take Landrigan’s 21-year-old daughter Kat under his wing. Kat has dreams of making it big on the poker tour and although she has talent and mettle, she lacks finesse. Thanks to Spain’s efforts, Kat is ready to play in the World Poker Tour Five Diamond tournament hosted by the Bellagio in Las Vegas just after her twenty-second birthday.
Shortly after the tournament opened, a murdered player was discovered marked with a card combination known as the Picasso Flop. Suspicion falls on Kat and it’s up to Spain to ferret out the truth but the clock is ticking as other players begin falling prey to a brutal murderer. Spain knows that unless the case is solved, he or Kat could be the next victim as someone is clearly playing for keeps.
This is the first in what will undoubtedly be the Texas Hold’em series which plays upon the popularity of the World Poker Tour while developing Spain as a likable main character. As a mystery, the plot is weak but the card playing is sharp and the inside view of big money, high rollers is entertaining enough to make up for it.