Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Competition winners

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

RIGHT. This has been tricky because there were lots of excellent submissions and only three prizes. I ended up throwing it open to the floor at my Tuesday game tonight and a handful of us collectively decided the winners. To see the original submissions, read the thread called FREE BOOKS.

  To win a signed copy of my new book I asked you to tell me: if you were going to write a story about the passion in your life, what would it be about and what would it be called?

  The first winner is the one that most convinced me it was a real passion, as deep as mine for the game of poker. That is Random Reader, whose love of maths is so vast and sweeping that he couldn’t fit it into a blog post and actually set up a whole separate web page for his answer. Nevertheless, within the blog post he did manage to fit an excellent joke about maths. Random Reader: I like your style, and your priorities. (For the joke, see the original FREE BOOKS thread).

  The second winner explained that his passion wasn’t actually a deep or long-standing passion, and yet whose idea seemed the most quirky, likable and worth following up - also, his title was the one that made Ashley* laugh most (*a player in my Tuesday game. You’ll find him in the book, drinking a lot of coffee. But he only had three cups tonight). That is Steve, who has decided he wants to make a vegetable patch and then try to grow enough wheat to provide the flour for a loaf of bread. His title, based on his wife’s response to the idea, is You Ain’t Growing Any F***ing Wheat In My Garden.

  And the third winner is someone whose submission didn’t actually seem to involve much passion at all - in fact, he promised “lots of ennui” - but we thought he had the most ambitious book in mind, with the most intriguing style summary. That is MarkP, who promised the autobiography of a Brummie industrial electrician moving between various jobs, which would be, he claimed “One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich meets On The Buses.” That sounds like an ambition very worthy of a prize.

  So: you three will all be sent emails (assuming you used your proper email addresses when submitting) by my lovely assistant Phoebe, asking where to send the book and to whom you would like it signed.

  Thanks to all for your excellent replies. There may be another competition in a few days, or possibly in October, to win a different prize…. watch this space.

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Sam at 4:39 am on September 23rd, 2009

Sucks. Mind you, it says a lot about how messed up poker players get that not managing to bink off a signed copy of the book probably tilts me more than losing over $10k this evening.

Gah, here’s a picture of some flowers:

Purple and orange are probably my two favourite colours. I like that picture, it makes me hopeful.

joeking at 1:16 pm on September 23rd, 2009

Cover for Pokerplayer magazine for Sept 09 - you’re looking hot, baby!

That wheaty title made me larf also.

I have been mostly playing Omaha hi. Can’t wait for twoplustwo Omaha book. Your book is on this thread

with usual snarks.

RomanticRecluse at 4:04 pm on September 23rd, 2009

Well done to the winners.  I’ll buy the book, partly for your story but also for a picture of an era and a world.

Vicky, I’m a bit older than you and you fell in love with poker around the time I stopped playing cards.  I played various games with relatives, neighbours and friends but we didn’t care if we won or lost and never played for money.  When the others didn’t have time to visit, died or moved away I stopped playing.

I’ve thought about taking up poker but haven’t because I don’t want to play any game for money.  For me a game should be fun and when someone takes it seriously because money, titles or egos are at stake it stops being fun.

Could you please tell me if poker is for someone who doesn’t like money, care about winning or feel the need to be part of a group?

Random Reader at 5:19 pm on September 23rd, 2009

Aww. Thank you for the incredibly nice things you’ve said and for the book. I’m very touched. I shall look forward to reading it.

Clyde at 7:36 pm on September 23rd, 2009

Sigh. Losing makes me sad. But congrats to the winners. Their enteries were quite entertaining ideas i must admit.

MarkP at 10:44 pm on September 23rd, 2009

Thank you. My book does include passion, I just didn’t mention it in the summary (you will just have to wait and buy the book to find out what it is). I was aiming at being funny and it’s difficult to be funny about something you are passionate about, so I just tried for funny.
This is only the second prize of note I’ve won, the other being a school prize of a Rothman’s Football Yearbook back in 1973. It’s been worth the wait.

Victoria Coren at 12:41 am on September 24th, 2009

@RomanticRecluse “Could you please tell me if poker is for someone who doesn’t like money, care about winning or feel the need to be part of a group?”

Hmm. I think I’d have to say no. If you wanted any single one of those things (to win, to be involved with money, or to be part of a group) I’d say try poker. If you want NONE of them… no, it’s not the game for you.

danny maris at 1:43 am on September 24th, 2009

No sign of your book in my local Waterstone’s yet.  Not in indoor games or new books!

Sorry but I’m beginning to think that cover was not the right approach. I think a photo of you would be much better, as on this site. It would relate the book to a real individual and signal it was autobiographical rather than some sort of theoretical guide. Please consider for the paperback!

Also, why aren’t you popping up on chat shows everywhere?  Your story - winning so hugely so young - is an amazing one that virtually every one is going to find interesting. So I am not sure why you aren’t out there getting the message across.  You should definitely be on Jonathan Ross (please go prepared with put downs for the smutty-minded little pup).

Steve at 11:31 am on September 24th, 2009


I reckon I’m almost over my first hurdle now. How can my good lady possibly do anything but allow the planting of the wheat now that she’s helped me win a book.

Right… is it a scythe or a sickle I’ll be needing next harvest time for the cutting of the wheat?

Apparently one can thresh wheat using a pillow case and a wall.

This may well prove to be a rather expensive loaf of bread

David J. Bodycombe at 11:33 am on September 24th, 2009

Sorry to crash this thread but an incredible Vegas story here:

RomanticRecluse at 12:02 pm on September 24th, 2009

Vicky, thanks for replying and answering my question.  I think you’re right.  I may have some things that would be useful in poker (I’ve studied maths and psychology, I have stamina and patience and I may have a good poker face and the ability to wind opponents up) but what would always be missing would be the desire for the game, the feeling that there was something in it that I wanted.  I wouldn’t get a kick out of walking into a game, picking up a hand or making a move and winning a pot, no matter how big.  It may seem strange to some but I don’t think winning a bracelet, millions and the praise of other players would move me.  Maybe my heart is made of stone.

Thanks again and I hope you find what you want, starting with a book that shoots up the bestseller charts.

Malc at 2:55 pm on September 24th, 2009

I agree with Danny Maris
The cover of the book is wrong!
Not going to buy it!
I`m gutted I didn`t win a signed copy of the book!
Just goes to show you don`t understand Football, and its Highs and lows, its humour and its hatred!!!

Don`t like you anymore!!

Rainbow at 8:13 pm on September 24th, 2009

Typical Manchester City fan.

I like the cover, think it’s clever and striking, good colours. But who’s the sultry siren? And why has she got no nose? How does she…...etc etc….

Julia at 10:59 pm on September 24th, 2009

What a great Vegas story. I wonder if the CSI writers have seen that? It reminds me of that film/ urban myth about primitive people living in the London Underground. “Mind…the…gap!”

I’ll be buying the book tomorrow btw. Woo hoo!

C Scott at 1:28 pm on September 25th, 2009

Thoroughly enjoyed the book although I may have got on better if I’d realised the Rules were at the back before I got to the end!

For those unhappy with the book cover, perhaps they’d prefer this suggestion from Sarah Silverman:
RT @SarahKSilverman “If I gave birth, right as the head came out I would quickly stand up and take a picture. It would make a cool queen of diamonds”.

David J. Bodycombe at 7:43 pm on September 26th, 2009

In the Kingston WHSmiths I can report that you were sandwiched between Mark Ramprakash and Andy McNab, and on top of Fernando Torres.

Victoria Coren

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