Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

The Odds Game

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Interesting. I see I’m 20/1 with Party Bets to win Premier League Poker. Meanwhile, I’m 10/1 with Sky Bet to replace Carol Vorderman on Countdown. Given that I’m not in the running for Carol’s job, nobody’s approached me about it, and I would never say yes if they did… WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT MY POKER GAME?

  The funny thing is, this makes me more eager than ever to get started. After all, if it wasn’t for luck, Phil Hellmuth would win every time…..


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Alan Glaum at 8:04 pm on November 19th, 2008

Surely the odds say more about those betting on the Carol replacement than on you.

Jon Woodfield at 9:11 pm on November 19th, 2008

It did make me laugh when I saw those odds.

If I had any money on the site I’d put a bet on out of principle.

For what it’s worth I think the favourite should be Annette though.

Tom at 9:31 pm on November 19th, 2008

Who is being replaced on premier league poker from last season?
And by the way i was gutted when you didnt make the final table, but over the moon to see Phil Hellmuth knocked out. I hope Tony G doesnt play, but it is extremely entertaining when Tony, Devilfish and Hellmuth are on at the same night.
When is it being aired vicky?
All the best of luck and i hope to see you take the title this year, and at odds at 20/1 i think ill have a cheeky 5er on you.
Good Luck

Andy the Dealer at 11:34 pm on November 19th, 2008

It says to me, ‘Party Bets needs to hire Neil Channing as odds maker if they want to stay in business.’

Go get ‘em Vicky!

Omeed at 1:03 am on November 20th, 2008

Am surprised they have made Eastgate the fav. The format is completely different from a MTT, and one big win doesn’t mean he’s better than the rest of the field. Conversely, despite winning it last time, Andy Black is one of the outsiders. Strange.

Your short countdown odds probably has something to do with your excellent work on Only Connect. Have just discovered it and unlike most other quizzes it provides a very enjoyable challenge. I only get two or three answers correct through the course of a show but feel uber chuffed when i do.

Victoria Coren at 3:38 am on November 20th, 2008

To be honest, I think making any kind of market on this must be a shot in the dark - they’re pretty much all great players, though some have more or less experience in this particular format. (Although I feel completely justified in being there, I wouldn’t put NLH SNGs down as my own strongest format, but then Phil Hellmuth wouldn’t either!) But it’s a pretty fast structure, everyone there is smart enough to figure out what generally works and doesn’t work, everyone is facing a tough line-up and it’s very hard to debate who the favourite should be. If you look at the betting list, as soon as it goes over 9/1 they all look like value!

  I think it airs in January…

R at 12:03 pm on November 20th, 2008


Ok, every player may have his individual ‘secret weapons’, such as the benefit of being the luckiest guy of the season, abusive megalomania, a sizeable arsenal of bling-bling and expletives, a past in the monastery, a bit of a gay touch (nevertheless, [name edited] has impressed me a lot!!) ... or quite simply the compelling combination of superior intelligence, linguistic talent, a sophisticated sense of humour,  the ability to think laterally, a unique, seductive charm and really nice looks (TONY, HAVE MY BABIES!!!!).

Don’t worry. Your actual odds to win are exactly 1/12. And I’ll make a serious bet now.

Jim at 12:04 pm on November 20th, 2008

Well my money’s on you, so I’ll be back here to complain if you don’t win.

Dave P at 9:00 am on November 21st, 2008

“a bit of a gay touch (nevertheless, [name edited] has impressed me a lot!!)”

NEVERTHELESS???  Wow, just wow! This guy’s poker play has impressed despite him appearing to be gay? How very broadminded!
I confess that for a moment I thought that I was reading letters to the Amanda Platell column rather than comments to Vicky Coren’s blog.
It is a long time since I played any serious poker, but I remember the poker community fondly as having only one criteria for acceptance. It mattered not if you were gay, black, female, entomologist or visitor from Alpha Centauri, if you had money to lose you were welcome.
Have times changed ?

Victoria Coren at 12:49 pm on November 21st, 2008

Have checked with the moderator, who felt it was basically a goodnatured comment in a light-hearted post. They just took the name out for delicacy.
  As far as being gay in poker goes - I think it’s probably as tough as you let it be - it’s an old-fashioned world in its way, and any ‘difference’ can give people ammunition. It’s tough to be a woman in poker if you let it, but not if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Historically, gay players have kept it to themselves. But a few have come out in the last couple of years and I’ve been happy to see that (apart from a bit of teasing, as anybody gets about anything) nothing in the card room has changed for them at all. Except they’re probably happier, because they’re not hiding anything. Except their cards…

jp at 6:03 pm on November 21st, 2008

Queens are always welcome at my end of the table, especially in pairs.

R at 10:14 pm on November 21st, 2008

Oh God.

I was just trying to be funny. An attempt, which obviously failed. There is hardly something more difficult than trying to be funny in a foreign language. Believe that, dear Dave! I’m a decidedly liberal mind. And I do have a very close gay friend, who means the world to me :-) :-) We tease each other very, very, verrrrry maliciously - but as confident adults, we can both handle it with a trustful smile. I did not want to badmouth the other players, either.  Far from it!
Just the other day, I was thinking of my dream table (like on “Poker After Dark”). And now ALL OF THEM are playing the Premier League, [name edited] included!!!

I just wanted to point out that EVERYBODY CAN WIN in poker! Well, possibly not on the level where I’m playing, which many probably consider as ‘not serious’, because I put in only about a quarter of my income and one is empirically recordable even (pizza, smoking papers and an occasional sip of beer inclusive) playing tight aggressive poker by the book, because there are always players who simply don’t understand the game. At Premier League level, however,  everyone is at 1/12, because they’re all great. I just wanted to bolster Vicky up. It turned out to be a gossipy, defamatory blunder. I really regret this. And I apologize to Vicky, [name edited], Dave P and everybody else for striking the wrong note.

Victoria Coren at 1:59 am on November 22nd, 2008

Aw, that’s ok R, we know you meant it in a light-hearted way, and I very much appreciate your encouragement as I wait to take on this insane line-up of players!

Dave P at 9:34 am on November 22nd, 2008

Now I feel bad about raising the issue :(
I understand and accept what you are saying R and I apologize if I caused you to worry or be upset.
On the whole odds thing, I’m guessing that the bookies set their initial prices on how they think the public will bet rather on who they think will actually do well.
I expect they are making quite a tidy little sum out of quoting VC at short odds for the Countdown job. Non blog readers, might well assume that she is one of the favourites and throw down a fiver or two on what the bookies know to be a non starter.
On the more interesting poker gamble, Victoria, did you bet on yourself at the extremely generous price they are offering or would you see that as tempting fate?

Victoria Coren at 1:58 pm on November 22nd, 2008

No, I never bet on myself to win things - I don’t understand that mentality - I mean, if I win then I get loads of money anyway. Why give myself more cash to be depressed about losing if I don’t? For the same reason, I always bet against the team I want to win in football (or whatever) - then there’s at least a small financial consolation in defeat.
  Thus, for the Premier League, I’ve had a couple of bets on two other people to win -  though better not say who, as they’re probably quite confident enough already!

John at 2:58 pm on November 22nd, 2008

I do hope we’ve all kissed and made up… then I had the misfortune of seeing a rerun of Rolf Harris performing Jake the Peg, and I felt the searing humiliation and pain of all 3-legged people around the globe.  I was about to suggest we pistol-whip Harris.  Better not… Mmwa!  John.

Victoria Coren

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