Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

For Richer, For Poorer

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Well, so, my book seems to be sort of out! It’s meant to be next Thursday but the publisher now says that’s just a ‘guide date’ - Amazon have starting posting out the pre-orders, there’s already a customer review on there (sort of; it’s a posting of the Literary Review review but that’s still very nice) and there are copies in bookshops!

  So, hurray for it being sort of out. There’ll be proper celebrations on this site next week and a nice extract in the Observer tomorrow (although I would say, if you’re planning to buy it anyway, don’t read the extract cos it works better to read the various bits in context..). In the meantime, I thought I’d put this post up for anyone who now has a copy and wants to post opinions / disagreements / relevant mild mickey-taking.
  And if you’re passing your local bookshop, do let me know if they have it, and if so which curious part of the shop it has ended up in by mistake. Waterstones in Kensington have it in “Indoor Games”. I can see their logic but it’s going to hugely disappoint anyone who’s looking for a strategy guide, and finds instead some curious tales of going broke in Vegas, obscene flirting from The Devilfish and being challenged to a fist fight by Keith Allen. But non-fiction books are always oddly categorized. Free copy to the first person who finds it in a gardening section.

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Drumvesta at 12:06 pm on September 12th, 2009

Vicky, congrats on a producing spiffing read.

You’re right, non-poker players will be able to enjoy your book although, I suspect,  they may miss some of the atmosphere you create.

I’m already on page 224, it’s so engrossing!
There are many chuckles to be had and I LOL’d (literally) at your Martin Amis Scrabble story.

Thanks for an entertaining read.
I hope you get the big sales you deserve with this.


Jon MW at 12:36 pm on September 12th, 2009

It’s a great book Vicky.

I think there are a number of small details that non-poker players will miss, but it is sub titled “A Love Affair With Poker”, so it’s not exactly misleading about what it contains.

All your work is good, even Love 16, but this really is a cut above everything else. It’s a tremendously good story, superbly well written - it’s almost incidental that it’s a biog rather than fiction.

Which really begs the question - shouldn’t the next book be a novel?

With your poker experience and writing expertise then surely it would inevitably become ‘the best poker book ever’ (tm) - obviously to be adapted into ‘the best poker film ever’ (tm).

When should I pencil in the publication date for that then?

Victoria Coren at 1:50 pm on September 12th, 2009

Thanks so much Jon, I really appreciate it. But what a slave-driver! We haven’t even hit the official publication date for the new book and you want me to get started on another one? I don’t get three days to pitch for the title ‘best poker book ever’ with THIS one before giving up, sighing and starting again?!

  But yes maybe a novel.. one day.. maybe..


Chris M. Dickson at 3:12 pm on September 12th, 2009

In relation not to this post, but to your tweets of last night. Derren said at the start of the show that he would be using showmanship and misdirection. My theory is that the misdirection was the deliberately ridiculous non-explanation, and further ridiculous non-explanations will follow for the other Events in the series. Then at the end of the series he may say “ha ha, only misdirecting” and properly explain. That would certainly get me to watch one more episode, which I am otherwise unlikely to do…

Clyde at 3:54 pm on September 12th, 2009

Yes, my copy of your book arrived in the post this morning so i’m very happy now. Can’t wait to start reading it, should liven up my train journey tomorrow.

But why must you be so mean about Derren Brown? :-(

Colm at 4:02 pm on September 12th, 2009

Just to say your book has been spotted adorning the shelves of the bookshops of Dublin, world dominance awaits

Ian at 8:07 pm on September 12th, 2009

Pick up the book and move it to the New Releases/Bestsellers/Recommended whenever you go into a bookshop, if you ask me.

Simon Hawkins at 10:39 pm on September 12th, 2009

I went into Waterstone’s today (on unrelated business I’m sorry to say) and let out a rather embarrassing snorty chuckle when I spotted that they’d dedicated an entire section to what I assume is a new literary genre, “Paranormal Romance”.  Perhaps I’ll go back tomorrow and slip a copy of “For Richer, For Poorer” in there…

Andy at 12:21 am on September 13th, 2009

I’ll wait for the movie

David J. Bodycombe at 11:52 am on September 13th, 2009

Welcome to the wacky world of “Where’s the Games & Puzzles Section?”, a game I’ve been playing for over 25 years. Usually it’ll be next to Sports, but it can be next to Reference, Children’s or even Mathematics. Often, to add spice, it won’t be listed on the store directory. I defy you to find the right section in the Piccadilly Waterstones - it’s the publishing equivalent of a mirage.

And moving your books into prominent places (or “droplifting” as it’s known in the trade) doesn’t work either. They get moved back after a week or so. Publishers pay stores for the vast majority of those nice prominent positions on the front tables.

John at 12:03 pm on September 13th, 2009

A super book, had me hooked from the great opening line. Hope it is a great success.


Stephen at 6:29 pm on September 13th, 2009


Congratulations. I was thrilled to discover that the mystery Amazon jiffy bag in my porch on Saturday morning was your book. It has been a very enjoyable read so far.

Fingers crossed that it is a big success. I’m sure that it will be.

Colm at 8:26 pm on September 13th, 2009

Two good reviews in the Irish Sunday papers (Tribune & Business Post).

So any thoughts yet about the movie rights?

Roger at 8:31 pm on September 13th, 2009

A free copy. Well, I found a copy of your previous book in my garden.. Does that count?

Pete Traill at 10:46 pm on September 13th, 2009

In Waterstone’s in Dundee, for some odd reason your book, and the other Poker related books, are under a sign that says “cookery”. Probably not enough space on the sports and games shelves next to it.

Looking forward to reading it later.

adam at 11:15 pm on September 13th, 2009

Too late, i read the bit in the Obs but, on the strength of that i have to say wow Vicky. i am an arch critic but was immediately drawn in and moved by it, and my heart was pounding expecting the seven to drop on the river, even though i knew the outcome.
  The authenticity struck me, as i consider that to be the defining difference between great art and all the rest. if the rest of the book is as good as the extracts i will be astounded.

Rainbow at 11:43 pm on September 13th, 2009

Ouch, my eyes…. I’m not convinced that the kind of people who read your blog are necessarily going to be fans of sunburst red.  I’ve staggered home from the pub and found myself in Salon Kitty.

Victoria Coren at 11:51 pm on September 13th, 2009

Oh dear, really? The red was meant to be all festive and celebratory for the book being out. It won’t be here forever! Is it horrible? I like it… lucky red… Is it just me?

Julio Verme at 4:56 am on September 14th, 2009

Wow! Red Hot, rather! It looks so much better than celibatary black… And matches Victoria to perfection - the second hottest girl in the world! Congratulations on yet another achievement! I can already feel the aroma of champagne. Or is it… tinto?

freethy at 5:25 am on September 14th, 2009

Wesley Snipes said always bet on black.. Just saying. haha!

YankeeWilliam at 2:01 pm on September 14th, 2009


Belated congrats on the release of your book. I look forward to obtaining it through my Stars FPPs.

IMO the color changes to your site are a big improvement. The text stands out better and thus is easier to read. The red is sufficiently muted as to not burn my retinas. The color scheme reminds me of Encore.

Continued success on and off the felt.

Jo at 2:36 pm on September 14th, 2009

I much prefer the red. The greeny blue on black used to make my eyes go funny after reading the longer blogs.

C Scott at 3:36 pm on September 14th, 2009

Before I buy the book I’m interested in knowing the difference between buying it from Amazon and from chain bookstores such as Waterstones and Borders (apart from the second hand facility in Amazon - 2 second-hand copies of the book already available!).
Unfortunately we have little in the way of independent book sellers around here.

Rainbow at 12:32 am on September 15th, 2009

Oh all right then. But I feel such a prat wearing sunglasses in the living room. Don’t think you’re gonna need it, but best of luck with all the launch hoo-ha :)

Victoria Coren at 1:42 am on September 15th, 2009

Hi C Scott. Well, you know, I’m pretty Old School. I think Amazon is a great service and incredibly convenient, especially for people living in rural areas without a decent bookshop nearby. But sadly, it’s incredibly hard for bookshops to compete (because of course Amazon doesn’t have anything like the same overheads, plus it offers discounts that many bookshops can’t afford). And I wouldn’t want bookshops to disappear completely, because there are few things I enjoy more than wandering round them. SO obviously I would always try to direct people first to their local independent bookshop - because those are the places that most need support to survive - but I would still put Waterstones and brick-and-mortar chains above Amazon, because I believe Amazon can look after itself. It isn’t an anti-Amazon policy - all booksellers are good guys as far as I’m concerned - it’s just a preference for “live outlets” because I think they need more help and I want them to keep existing!

Sarah at 10:17 am on September 15th, 2009

Vicky, your piece in the Obs was fabulous, I read it with tears in my eyes. You sum up the romanticism and comfort of the escape of a card game perfectly. My dad is a lifelong bridge and poker player and is totally fascinated by all the people he meets. I have never been able to perfect a poker face well enough to give it a proper try, but had I had a big brother I think I might have ended up like you. You are a great writer and I look forward to reading the book! Keep up the good work!

M at 1:19 pm on September 15th, 2009

Found a couple of copies in the little Books etc in Broadgate Circle by Liverpool street, in the Biography section downstairs.

C Scott at 5:25 pm on September 15th, 2009

VC - thanks for your response above. I found the book in my local bricks and mortar multinational where it was, like M’s, sensibly situated in the Biography section, also downstairs. So a dollop of cement duly contributed to keeping it real.
As for Amazon looking after itself. I never met an Amazon who couldn’t!

George Junior at 5:39 pm on September 15th, 2009

Just wanted to echo Sarah’s comment on your Observer piece - I also found it very affecting - great piece of writing.

Drumvesta at 6:59 pm on September 15th, 2009

I got mine from Amazon….. I live on a hillside in the Peak District. Amazon is a Godsend to me but I agree about supporting small retailers where it is practicable.

Bookshops, I love’m too… you don’t get that smell with Amazon.

I’ve finished the book now and I’ve been enthralled from start to finish, the good times and the bad times.
Great Stuff.

Victoria Coren at 11:53 pm on September 15th, 2009

Thanks so much Drum, I’m really glad you enjoyed it. And for heavens’ sake (this applies to anyone who liked the book!) PLEASE DON’T LET ME STOP YOU from going to Amazon and posting a customer review….....

Glasgow Rich at 11:59 pm on September 15th, 2009

Got back from holiday today to find the new book waiting for me. That after I had finished OMWF on the plane out. Also, 1st day I was away I found a dodgy satellite broadcast of uk tv and your face was the 1st to come jumping out at me. You are easily the bollocks.

3 new blog posts AND the page is red?? Too cool. I need to go lie down.

Thank you greatly for your output.

David R at 11:08 pm on September 17th, 2009

I started to read For Richer, For Poorer. V. good so far. You really get absorbed into the poker world, and get some kind of understanding of what playing poker at that level must be like. Which is a fascinating education for me, as I know nothing about poker, although I used to watch Late Night Poker, and I follow Premier League Poker on C4.

Dave Griffiths at 5:13 pm on September 18th, 2009

Hi Vicky,

I’m Dave Griffiths from Poker Tour -  I am looking to read the book in the next week or so and would love to be able to interview you after I’d had chance to read it.

I could perhaps catch up with you at EPT London or similar in the not too distant future.


MarkP at 12:50 pm on September 19th, 2009

Checked Waterstone’s in the city centre and your book is in the ‘indoor games’ section and they’ve placed ii on the top shelf, actually you had the whole of the top shelf. At WHSmith’s your book was on one of the tables right next to Jo Whiley.
I am really enjoying your book and although I’m a novice when it comes to poker, it is so well written that knowledge of the sport isn’t required.
It does for poker what Nick Hornby’s ‘fever pitch’ did for football.

kincsem at 1:30 am on September 20th, 2009

I bought the book in the book shop in my local shopping centre in south Dublin last week.  I’ve read a few chapters so far and it is a good read.  I’m not rushing but savouring it.  And at over 300 pages i’m sure there is plenty in there.
I might put up a “review” on the poker section of  Roy Brindley’s book had a good discussion thread there.

Well done.

James at 11:53 am on September 21st, 2009

I got the book on Thursday and am going to start to reading it tonight (due to a hectic weekend!).

But, I must say I ADORE the cover art, colours and vibe of the book! And, the pieces I’ve seen in the national press have whetted my appetite.

Congrats on getting it out there, VC…

Francis Chu at 11:03 am on September 23rd, 2009

I got the book today.  A very good read.
I was really surprised that one of your poker friends was the late John Diamond, who at the time was married to Nigella Lawson.  Now, I have to ask, would Nigella be a good poker player if she wasn’t the “domestic goddess”?

THRIMPY at 12:14 pm on September 23rd, 2009


martin jackson at 6:37 am on October 8th, 2009

fantastic book victoria, couldn’t put it down.

ian wells at 10:48 pm on October 12th, 2009

hello vicky, bought your book from waterstones sheffield, in gardening section, superb read, enjoyed it from begining to end. Was going to call round on tuesday but cant make head nor tail of shifting sands! thanks for a superb enjoyable book, very touching at times with enough poker seasoning for us fools to appreciate! can’t you spin a vol 2 up? regards ian.

Mike at 1:31 pm on December 31st, 2009

Liked the book - well done.

Ken Singtone at 1:22 pm on March 3rd, 2011

I tried a bookshop but couldn’t find it, so used Amazon, ending up with all your books and one of your brother’s too.  Is it time to start a new, more prominent thread for comments now the paperback has launched?  I will wait before adding my comments, having recently finished reading FRFP.

Victoria Coren at 3:36 pm on March 3rd, 2011

Hi Ken. Yes, I will put up a book-related blog post that of course people can comment on if they like - probably at the weekend.

Fidel at 12:41 pm on April 2nd, 2011


I work in a Waterstone’s store not to far from the Ken branch, I have your book in stock and I run the biography section, which is where I have displayed your book on a table and in my feature space as I am a fan and a player.

However, I have also kept it in the indoor games section so that it sits alongside other biographies such as Dave Ulliott, Phil Hemuth and Al Alvarez and many more.

I am looking forward to reading it as I got a copy when it came out.

Good luck with your official launch and if you are ever in Richmond feel free to pop in and sign some copies for me.


Victoria Coren

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