Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Las Vegas Picture Diary, Day 1

Monday, 15 June 2009

I arrived safely! That is no thanks to Caroline the Virgin stewardess, with whom I had the oddest conversation before take-off. I think she must have been having a bad day. She was being a little snappy and officious about getting all the bags stowed, so I pleaded with her, “Be gentle, I’m really terrified of flying. It would be great if you could say something reassuring.” Her reassuring reply was, “I can’t promise this aeroplane won’t vanish out of the sky.”

  “Well… you could.” I tentatively suggested. “I mean, if it crashes and we all die, I’m not going to come looking for you to complain that you promised it wouldn’t happen.”

  “The fact is”, snapped Caroline, “I don’t know any better than you do.”

  So that was helpful. I reacted with elegance and bravery: burst into tears immediately. To be fair, I couldn’t fault her logic, even as I mentally crafted my furious letter to Virgin. They’ve really got the magic triple this month. My broadband failed and it took them a week to send a technician. My TV cable box failed, it took another week to get a “12-4pm” technical slot, and the man came at 6. Then I bought one of their flights and they assigned me the stewardess from hell. I’m really going off monopolies.

  But, a mere 15 hours later, we were in Las Vegas - hurray! - where, as is only appropriate in the 110-degree heat of June, the town is looking as Christmassy as ever.

  I went down to the Rio to see what was happening, and bumped into Jeff and Alan from the Vic. I don’t know why, but I always love flying half way round the world just to see my regular weekly opponents sitting in a poker game. I went to the cash desk and bought tickets for the two $2000 NLH tournaments this week and bumped into Gus Hansen, who was in a very flirtatious mood - but that’s ok. If he hadn’t been, I’d think he was ill. Also spotted Michael Greco on the final table of a $1500 NLH event, on his way to third place: a great result and I’m very happy for Michael, who really has made the full-on transition from soap star to poker player.

  I travelled out here with my friend the Chimney Sweep who has a new theory to combat jet-lag: eat nothing on the plane, then have a meal when you arrive. I hadn’t eaten on the plane anyway, since I was too scared to order anything off Caroline, but I wasn’t too hungry when sat down to eat at 1am UK time so I just ordered a soup. But I forgot, this is Vegas. You don’t just get soup. You get soup with a generous and unexpected garnish.

  After that I could barely keep my eyes open, so it was straight to bed after only the briefest 3-hour session of blackjack. All good so far. And if anything goes wrong, I know I will be cheered up by looking into the dancing eyes of The Sweep, who missed last year’s World Series and is just so happy to be here.


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seamus o connor (facebook in the limo) at 5:50 am on June 15th, 2009

Just spent the best part of a few hours (and a few or 8 beers)....reading your past blogs, after you mentioning your blog on twitter….a few things spring to mind…..surcharges, hollywood damn meant cricklewood (i lived opposite pedros cafe), phil helmuth and his derisory comment, your father’s heritage & fishmongers (that made me laugh….something along the lines “that you had been helped up the ladder….from the deriding guardian readers) reviewing porn….(now that made me chuckle)....certainly made me blush lol….& finally that sick C*** jolley or what ever his name was…..“Ive only been playing poker about 2 years” luck in vegas seamus o connor

Keith at 6:04 am on June 15th, 2009

Caroline should be sacked.

End of story.

Clyde at 11:13 am on June 15th, 2009

Good luck in the World Series Vicky. I hope it’s a very profitable year for you!

Rattler at 11:54 am on June 15th, 2009

No! Caroline should be held up as a shining example of an employee who hasn’t fallen for the world of corporate b.s. and isn’t impressed by cutesy pax who say “Ooh, what happens if the wings fall off?”, something which is no doubt at the back of her mind every minute of her working life. Long live Caroline and her British way of telling people not to be prats. I think I’m in love. Report her, and I’ll never read you again!

LC at 1:30 pm on June 15th, 2009

Victoria, I think you need to lose your Virginity.

Seriously, don’t bother using any of their many services again! They sound nothing short of terrible.

Malc at 1:32 pm on June 15th, 2009

Caroline is a bitch!
Slow play the aces!
Good luck!

RomanticRecluse at 5:44 pm on June 15th, 2009

Victoria, what does Las Vegas have that Cas Vegas doesn’t?  Whatever Las Vegas does have it isn’t 14 miles from Leeds and 4 miles from Ponte Carlo.  You might get to play against Phil Hellmuth but I suspect Sir Jimmy Savile has more bracelets than Phil.

If you come t’Yorkshire by train you won’t burst into tears shortly after boarding, although you might after a few hours if you’re stuck in the East Midlands due to overhead line failure or you get to Yorkshire and look out of the window.  There’s no risk of jet-lag but you may feel that you’ve travelled back in time by 15 years.  However, even if the area, food and action (poker, not fighting) aren’t up to much at least you can take comfort from the fact that London is only a couple of hours away.

Good luck and have fun.

Roger at 9:12 pm on June 15th, 2009

Talk about customer service. Virgin on the ridiculous, i think! Hey, remember, Virgin senior managment do listen to complaints… You should try their food.

Good luck on the tables. Looking foward to your book in Sept.

Francis Chu at 9:16 pm on June 15th, 2009

Good Luck Vicky.
BTW did you arrive on time to see Roland de Wolfe win his bracelet?

Ed Austin at 6:32 am on June 30th, 2009

so is it soup with half a dozen unexpected cheese sandwiches?  Or a serve of sangers, garnished with a bowl of soup?  And why is the cheese that colour? So many questions.

Chris Straghalis at 7:01 pm on July 16th, 2009

You didn’t mean Virgin is a monopoly did you?  I think they qualify more as a conglomerate

Victoria Coren

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