Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Sometimes poker is about those things

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Does 25 places off the money count as “on the bubble” ? I think, in a 1500-runner tournament, it probably does. It’s a giant bubble - the kind you dream of blowing as a kid when you’ve been watching too many Hubba Bubba adverts.

I can’t pretend this has been a great day for me. It started a few hours ago in the Barcelona EPT, when I decided to nip out for a quick cigarette at the end of Level One (no break). The door at the back was shut, so I had to walk the other way. Passing my table, I thought “Well, I might as well have a look at the next hand…”

Aces! Well, this was bound to go wrong. I was never supposed to see this hand. Those closed doors boded ill. All my superstitious instincts were screaming “No!” - for all the same reasons that I never play a hand straight after a misdeal. It means the fates are un-alligned.

But I could hardly fold aces; I was even fortunate enough to find one of those nutters who wanted to go all-in before the flop with a pair of kings. Suffice it to say that I was able to go for my cigarette with 7000 fewer chips than I’d had thirty seconds before.

Knocked out a few hours later, at precisely 16:30 American time, I decided to be super-pro and go straight into the WCOOP $320 Mixed Limit Holdem. I generally believe that, going out of a tournament, you should do ANYTHING BUT play poker for the rest of the night. But I decided that if it wasn’t live poker, it didn’t count.

So, here I am, half past four in the morning in Barcelona, out on the bubble. I’ve drunk three cans of coke, and eaten four packets of “goats-cheese flavour biscuits”. Why are hotel room snacks so peculiar? Does normal food not come in minibar sizes? Those goaty biscuits were extremely unpleasant. I’m glad there were only four packets in the fridge.

  I got into a strange discussion in the WCOOP chat box with a German player who’d bought the German translation of my book and was very narked about it. In German, the title translates as “an erotic novel”. A worse description for my book you’d be hard pressed to devise. It isn’t a novel, and it isn’t erotic. Other than that, the title is perfect. (This guy wanted his money back. If he’d been sitting at my table, he’d have had it soon enough.)

  Now I have to try and find a way to sleep, despite the sirens wailing outside my window. Spain doesn’t seem to have the “no sirens after midnight” rule, and this hotel hasn’t thought to put in double glazing. If I had any goat’s cheese biscuits left, I could use them as earplugs. They were about the right consistency. I’ll try using the packets, but unfortunately they aren’t quite as dense.

Basically, then, today has been about gaining weight, losing money and arguing with Germans. Oh well. Sometimes, poker just IS about those things. As Scarlet said, “There’s always tomorrow…”

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Andy W at 11:49 am on September 11th, 2008

Reminds me of when I bought the book.  This being before the dignified anonymity of Amazon, I went into Borders in Oxford Circus.  When I couldn’t find it in Entertainment or whatever, I asked the woman at the desk to look it up.  A few seconds later she pursed her lips and said “That’s in Erotic SIR” in a tone that clearly implied “Take it and never come back you greasy pervert”.


Ian at 12:48 pm on September 12th, 2008

Unlucky on AA, play in local pub and they held up last night the 3 times they were played properly. They didn’t the time I had them in the small blind as I wanted to play them a bit differently, knocked out 1 but another made a crappy call and lucked out a RR straight.

Still won though. :-)

Also through to the Sunday Final for the EPT at London, I’ll settle for finishing in 200th as I entered with PP.

Won’t give my account details on here as it’s on another email address and in the unlikely event of me winning it I wouldn’t want any accusations of collusion from the internet poker community.

Looking at “Take it and never come back you greasy pervert” - that’s pretty much the tone of voice I hear whenever I say hello to anyone.

Glad to hear Michael is doing well also.


Dave P at 8:36 am on September 13th, 2008

I think that Scarlet was permanently on tilt. Hardly a suitable role model for you.
If you have to emulate a fictional character, how about Irene Adler? She wasn’t easily bluffed and made the best of the hands she was dealt.
And even though she outwitted one king of Bohemia, I think that even she would have fallen victim to the pair you met in Barcelona.
Though I do feel that she would have foregone the WCOOP and the goat cheese biscuits.


Heinrich at 9:48 am on September 13th, 2008

I’m glad I didn’t find out about your book before I read about it here ... so I bought the English version, and it’s a great read :-). I just had a look at the German cover now ... never would have bought it ... Ein erotischer Roman ... omg ...


Alex Beaumont at 1:29 am on September 14th, 2008

Hi Vicky,

I have happily read your book and did really enjoy it. I would love (no, well I would enjoy, well maybe) like to see the film you and Charlie made, is it available?

On the plus side I made £3+ on BB but I am not sure the stress on my heart is quite worth it.


Victoria Coren at 1:15 pm on September 14th, 2008

Ah, well, there’s a question. The film used to be available via the website listed in the book - that worked very well for about six months, then Charlie forgot to renew the domain name. Typical. But to be fair, we ran out of copies anyway. We could probably make lots more and sell them for high prices, but I’m not entirely sure that’s legal. So… not currently available. It’s a shame really, because it’s hilarious to watch when you’ve read the book (and utterly pointless when you haven’t). Maybe I’ll talk to my brilliant web designer and see if we can upload some of it to this site later in the year - some of the cleaner sections…..


Matt B at 1:00 am on November 11th, 2010

Vicky: what a pleasure unparalleled it is to be reading your blogs!

I am happy about two things: first, that you are no longer in the above-described hotel room having to endure poor Spanish snacks, and second, that I have many more of your blogs yet to read (I thought I’d start at the very beginning). Anyway, keep writing! Much love, Matt


Victoria Coren

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