Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Just A Quick One (about poker)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

... to say that I’m very pleased with the way this week has gone in Madrid. Look at the post below this if you have no interest in results and simply want to see some random holiday snaps. But poker-wise, I have to be happy. As I whined (in the thread below) the main event was no good (aces cracked by Joe Hachem’s flush draw) and the heads up was cruel (on the perfect bubble, 2-1 down in the money match.) I also managed to finish on the bubble of the SCOOP heads-up, AND had a nasty beat in the €1,000 side event - just near the money - when I shoved for 19 big blinds with Qc 5c, a man inexplicable called me with 5h 6h and won.

  But I finished 3rd in the ladies’ event for €4,100 and tonight I finished 4th in the EPT Champion of Champions event for €10,000 of EPT vouchers for next season. It wasn’t really about the money though, this tournament, it was about the prestige. This was an invitational tournament for EPT champions, open to everyone who’s won an EPT main event title in the seven years of the series. There were 50 of us there. I feel like I played really well; I was chip leader for most of the day. I hit some big hands early on (and you always need a bit of luck) but also my pacing was good - which it had to be in a deep-stack tournament that became a turbo. (We started with 500 big blinds each, and eleven hours later had 100 big blinds in play between 6 people). I pushed at the right times, sat back at the right times, stole some pots and won some fairly. AND survived sharing the blinds with ElkY for several hours. They do say not to defer to anyone at the poker table, but that guy really is some kind of genius; he’s won two side events at this EPT event alone.


final table

  Anyone watching it on or following my Twitter feed will know that my exit hand was very odd. With blinds at 20k-40k, Galen Hall raised to 100k and I shoved for 920k with a pair of eights. Galen somehow misunderstood my stack, thought I only had 300k and felt priced in to call with K2. Unfortunately, he hit a K on the flop and I was out. When the TV version goes out on Channel 4, you’ll see from my exit interview that I was very shocked and upset. I should have won that pot and had 2m in chips - with which I could easily have won the tournament. (I say easily. I’d have had to beatJason Mercier, who was playing very well and went on to win. But I would have had a great shot with those chips.)

  Still, I’m back in my hotel room now, drinking Rioja and reflecting that I could have got unlucky early on and been knocked out for nothing. I think that exit hand is something I’ll remember for a long time, and may be my worst “bad beat” ever - not in terms of the statistics of the hand (I was only a little over 2/1 favourite) but just the way it played out. He knew he shouldn’t have called - he would have taken his chips back before the flop if he could - and it seemed cruel for my eights not to stand up under those circs. Nevertheless, I feel like I played very well in an extremely tough field - and in that light, my bad beats in the main event and €1k side event, along with the heads up bubble, actually feel encouraging. I was definitely doing something right this week.

  And who knows? Maybe I’ll spin up those €10,000 EPT tickets into a fortune in season 8.

  This time next year, Rodney…

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Juno at 2:45 pm on May 14th, 2011

Saw your exit hand online - sick sick sick! V unlucky Vic, looked like you were gonna win that tourney.

VM at 9:13 am on May 15th, 2011

Sorry for your bad beat Vicky. To play well for so long in a tourney only to lose in a hand like that really sucks.

John at 5:40 pm on May 15th, 2011

Orange is a fantastic colour.  Were you wearing matching boots?  Looking at your pics I wasn’t sure.

VM at 8:11 am on May 16th, 2011

I saw that horrible beat you took where you flopped trip kings and the other player hit a one outer on the river. Poker sucks.

psychofant at 4:17 pm on May 16th, 2011

victoria, American law enforcement agencies are moving against on-line poker companies, including POKER STARS, they are seizing the property of people working for the companies. i hope when you return from Madrid you still have somewhere to live!

Victoria Coren at 4:59 pm on May 16th, 2011

Hi psycho. There does seem to be some draconian behaviour from the US government towards online poker, which I hope will be cleared up soon and US poker players have their freedom back, but fortunately it isn’t an issue for me or players in the UK anyway.

VM at 3:29 am on May 17th, 2011

Nice 8k finish in the SCOOP tourney today Vicky. You shouldve had more chips, but for your pocket aces cracked by pocket kings in another bad beat. Well done.

Ken Singtone at 4:27 pm on May 23rd, 2011

US government interest in online poker may explain why Arnold Schwarzenegger is following you on Twitter, or perhaps he just has impeccable taste.  Either way, congratulations on concealing a great plug for your book inside your Observer column, & mentioning the lovely Claudia. I’ve read the book, I thoroughly approve.
Your parents had a successful marriage.  You write about the great lost love of your life in your book.  As a bachelor with a thus far similar experience (book excepted), I wonder how much this contributes to your marriage apprehension?  Then again there is the problem of reconciling marriage with lifestyle/career choices, & balancing parental relationships with the marital one if there are children.
Surely poker is your escape from the arduous pretences of grown-up life?

Ken Singtone at 4:38 pm on May 23rd, 2011

I don’t play poker, but, having read For Richer, For Poorer, even I feel reassured by the last sentence in my previous comment.  I don’t know why, but thanks anyway Victoria. x

plato at 7:54 pm on June 3rd, 2011

Sick. Sick. Sick…..........

Supreme play, pity about the lack of fold equity vs donk.

jimmyc at 9:22 am on June 5th, 2011

Young Toren a tough life is poker, Very similar to the moon. Sometimes the tide is with you and sometimes against you. As for those Americans, wow their economy must be in dire straits if they are trying to claw revenue off poker. What ever is next, prohibition? DOH! tried that already, will they ever learn?

RomanticRecluse at 12:30 pm on August 3rd, 2011

I’ve just read your poker column about a hand against Liv Boeree in Madrid which got “unsympathetic commentary” and I think you and the commentator both got it wrong.

You flopped top set on a 6 high flop and caught a boat on the river.  You were a big favourite post-flop and a near-cert after the river but you overplayed the hand and didn’t induce a shove from Liv who had a good hand and could have thought that her overpair was ahead after the flop.

The commentator was right to say that the check on the river was bad but he should have said that the check came too late.  You should have checked the Q on the turn or even the flop and tentatively flat called any bet Liv made and then given her the chance to go broke after the river.

You let Liv get away.

Victoria Coren

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