Five friends. One year. All bets are off. Reading, 2009. It may not be Vegas, but for Nick, Doug, Vijay, Alan and Simon, it's as good as they're going to get. Each in their forties, and beset by anxieties, flaws and frustrations, they meet monthly in each other's houses for a 'friendly' game of poker, enabling Doug to show off his newly-minted wealth, Simon to insist on serving only red wine and goats' cheese and Nick - swimming in a cocktail of envy, fear, bravado and disappointment - to make increasingly desperate attempts to bring an end to his interminable losing streak. While Vijay meticulously records every win and loss on his spreadsheet, and Alan frets about his propensity to break into sweat and his inability to get his wife pregnant, Nick becomes obsessed with the idea of engineering Doug's downfall: Doug, who with his big house, his successful business and his appalling taste is both everything that Nick aspires to and resents. Convinced of the heroic nature of his task, he aims to triumph over Doug in poker, as well as in life, and in doing so he comes into troubling proximity to Sophia, Doug's clever and beautiful wife ...