Jonathan Grotenstein is a reasonably successful author and ghost-writer (read: working), less-than-successful screenwriter, and recovering professional poker player.
After spending much of the '90s on an Internet thrill ride, Grotenstein realized he could make a far more honest living at the poker table, where there's no need to suspect that everyone is lying to make a buck. (They are.) He succeeded more than he failed, but quickly discovered that he could achieve significantly more consistent results as a poker-playing writer than a writing poker player.
In 2004, he and Phil Gordon co-authored "Poker: The Real Deal," which became, thanks to a lack of any serious competition at the time, one of the best-selling poker books in history. Grotenstein collaborated with Gordon on two sequels, ghost-wrote "Online Ace" for poker pro Scott Fischman, then teamed up with Storms Reback to write "All In: The (Almost) Entirely True History of the World Series of Poker." He contributed (and, in some cases, donated) dozens of articles to the poker magazine "All In" and primers on poker and blackjack for the Lonely Planet's guide to Las Vegas.
He has also authored several feature-film screenplays, a couple of which have actually generated significant interest. (Translation: numerous time-consuming meetings, note sessions and extensive rewrites, adding up to approximately $700 in material compensation.) He played the not-at-all-pivotal role of "Poker Dealer," opposite the late, great Patrick Swayze, in an episode of A&E's "The Beast."
Grotenstein resides in Pasadena with his wife and two sons, where, when he's not toiling away at his crappy novel, he continues to ghost-write for TV stars, NFL veterans, celebrity dog trainers, and the occasional fictional character. His current project, "Ship It Holla Balla!" -- the true story of a group of teenagers who made ridiculous money and even more ridiculous life-decisions during the late '00s online poker boom -- will be published by St. Martin's Press in 2012.