Stephen runs a restaurant and has a weekly poker game in the basement. He enjoys playing for big money, and it's not unusual for the waiters to lose their paychecks, or more, each week. One of the waiters, Mugsy, wants to start a restaurant of his own. He needs a loan, and thinks Stephen will give it to him since he intends to go into business with Stephen's son, Carl. Carl doesn't want any part of a restaurant, and prefers to gamble away whatever money Stephen gives him. This is a long-term problem for Carl. He's gone back and forth with his father, lying about his gambling obsession, pretending to quit, then getting deeper in debt to feed his habit. Stephen tolerates Carl, but just barely. Instead, he offers fatherly love to Mugsy, a chronic loser, but a loser who refuses to give up. On this night, Ash, a professional gambler, shows up at the restaurant and threatens to kill Carl if he doesn't pay up the $4,000 he owes. Carl could ask his father for money again, but he's afraid to admit he hasn't given up gambling. Instead, he invites Ash to play poker with the guys, knowing he'll clean them out. At this high-stakes game, one by one the waiters drop out. Ash is confronted by Stephen, who can spot a professional a mile away but turns the table on Stephen when he asks him where Carl acquired his habit. Who is the real addict, Carl or Stephen? Shaken, Stephen admits he's hooked on the game. Finally knowing himself for what he is, Stephen approaches Carl with a newfound need to connect with his son.
"…Marber—with his suggestions about life and, especially, fatherhood—plays out his dramatic hand with compelling skill, and DEALER'S CHOICE strikes me as a straight flush." —NY Post. "…make tracks to DEALER'S CHOICE, Patrick Marber's wonderfully masculine, razor-sharp dissection of poker as life…It's a play that comes out swinging and never lets up—a witty, wisecracking drama that relentlessly probes the tortured souls of its six very distinctive…characters. CHOICE is a cutthroat pleasure that you won't want to miss." —Time Out NY. "Playwright Patrick Marber…plays his hand with the skill of a Vegas pro. DEALER'S CHOICE…is a neat…comic drama that gives its talented players ample opportunity to outbid one another." —Variety.