Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Vegas Picture Diary, Day ?

Friday, 19 June 2009

Let’s discuss the phrase “Fortune favours the brave.” It’s a good phrase, snappy, well-worded. And it is true, if not the whole picture: fortune also punishes the brave. But the principle holds. Bravery invites experiences, opens you up to the possibilities of luck and adventure. Better to rush at life than let it pass you by. Maybe the punishment is also, in a way, a favour? Carpe diem. Carpe chips. “Fortune favours the brave” is a good motto for life, and an extremely good motto for a poker tournament. I wonder, then, which genius (responsible for the banners hanging outside this year’s World Series of Poker) decided that they could improve on it?

  Another sign that has been making me laugh a lot this year - I don’t have my own photo of it, but it’s here on their website is for the “shoppes at the Palazzo”. The Palazzo is the classy Italian-themed extension to the Venetian. The Venetian also has shoppes. Why? WHY? Why not just shops? I understand why the shops at Excalibur are called shoppes. Everything is like that at Excalibur. It’s “Olde English” themed. You can eat at Ye Rownde Table Buffet or (my favourite) Sir Galahad’s Rib Shacke. But why have shoppes at the Venetian and the Palazzo? Does a faint sense of Dorset village fete get people spending faster in Vegas? Or do they not know the difference between England and Italy? Or is this meant to be a phonetic translation of the way a comedy Italian would pronounce the word (in which case, surely, “shoppas” ?) Or is it just a constant, obstinate misprint? I say it has made me laugh. I actually find it ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING.

  I also took a photo of the breakfast menu at the Terrace Pointe Cafe, which is a fine example of something I always notice in Vegas: the way restaurants reassure customers that they will get big portions. Do they think diners will fear ordering a particular dish, in case there isn’t enough of it? It’s as though everyone here is on a special bulk-up diet after a long illness. God forbid they would accidentally find themselves, at breakfast, looking at a small croissant. Or a medium-sized sour coffee cake. But have no fear! The menu guarantees otherwise.

  One thing that is traditionally tricky, in this town, is finding presents to take home. My whole family’s birthdays fall during the World Series of Poker, so I always want to get them things while I’m away. But there is nothing on sale except gold Buddha money-boxes, glittery clothes, novelty dice sets and hideous artworks. And so expensive! Every year so far, I have found it nearly impossible to locate anything tasteful or reasonably priced. This year, though, I have finally found the perfect gift, in the shops at Encore. Everybody will be getting one.



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Ian at 1:30 pm on June 19th, 2009

Giant coffee cake…..urgh….giant cheesecake on the other hand…..

Good luck in the Main Event (if you are playing it) some of my friends are flying over on the 1st to play in it so if you are on a table with them (unlikely) then please don’t knock them out….come on Ken and Michall (yes, that is the spelling) - good Lancashire Lads.

Malc at 3:17 pm on June 19th, 2009

When`s your next game?

Rollo at 4:02 pm on June 19th, 2009

You should play as seriously and as solemnly as possible, because Fortune Favours the Grave, as any fule kno.

Robert Duboff at 5:41 pm on June 19th, 2009

There is no way I am clever enough to write a witty comment on your blog to get you to link me as I am illegible.
So this is my best shot… :(

Fitch at 7:57 pm on June 19th, 2009

Good luck Vicky. I’m going to Kefalonia for the rest of the summer, so if you ever need a bolt hole, and peace and quiet, just get in touch. Give ‘em grief . xxx Fitch.

Rollover at 10:43 pm on June 19th, 2009

On second thoughts, perhaps you should play conservatively, as it is becoming clear that Fortune Favours the Dave.

Roger at 8:43 am on June 20th, 2009

Hey Vicky,

You seem to forget that the Palazzo are trying to recreate an Italian authenticity. You simply can not get more authentic than Shoppes, Italian for Shop.  Doesnt the word Shoppes sound so more classy to you? It is home to Barneys New York. Barney being a well known Italian name and family who invented the first Shoppe!

As for unique gifts try TXMAX. I have in my house a limited edition 2million made only wooden 3ft Buddha. It has now become a shrine to our 2year old cat, who worships each day by promtly scratching the wood.

Remember, fortune favours the cookies!

Victoria Coren at 12:56 am on June 21st, 2009

Robert - you are definitely illegible - you didn’t even include the link!

David Young at 7:05 pm on June 21st, 2009

Sorry to change the subject Vicky, but I thought you’d like to know that when I was last in the VIc, rumour had it that the VIP room would be turned into a Sit’N'Go room, having falied in its original intent.

Victoria Coren at 7:52 pm on June 21st, 2009

That is good news indeed! Double good news, in fact.

Val at 11:27 am on June 22nd, 2009

So, the breakfast menu: what’s with the “Housemade” pastries? Is that like home-made, but they just want everyone to know it wasn’t made in an apartment? Or something to do with housemaid’s knee? I could go on…

RomanticRecluse at 12:01 pm on June 22nd, 2009

Vicky, you may be right about fortune favouring the brave and my heart is telling me you are right but my head is telling me you are wrong.  My head tells me that because of my memories, my sceptical nature and my belief that life is not like poker.  In life there aren’t dealers watching to ensure there is fair play, tournament directors on hand to give rulings and a mathematical way of calculating the odds of winning and losing.  In poker if you bravely gamble and lose all your chips you can either rebuy or, if not and you’ve got the money, buy into another game but what happens if you gamble in life and lose the ability to trust, your hope and your marbles?  What do you rebuy with?

I would guess that your answer is that you rebuy with bravery.  Am I right?

Robert Duboff at 8:31 pm on June 22nd, 2009


My latest post is a work of art!  Hugo is a very good teacher of blog writing

Best of luck in vegas

David Bodycombe at 12:17 am on June 24th, 2009

Alas, the Venetian in Macau also has SHOPPES and I similarly tutted there.

MattF at 2:45 pm on June 26th, 2009

The banner is a translation of a quote attributed to Louis Pasteur when he was accused of being ‘lucky’.

Montana Wildhack at 6:46 am on June 29th, 2009

Couple of points:

A. It’s America, Victoria.  Everything is bigger here.  Too big.

B. It’s America, Victoria.  We don’t know the difference between Austria and Australia.  Why would we realise that ‘shoppes’ has no connection to Italy?

Victoria Coren

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