As soon as I saw Victoria Coren talking about her book on Twitter, I knew that I was going to have to read it. Witty, intelligent, dead cute and sister of the equally entertaining although more sweary Giles, she really is The Man’s celebrity crush, which is why we had to watch Only Connect religiously when it was on.
So, not only does Coren have all that going for her, she is also ‘a bit naughty’ because she has immersed herself in the ‘seedy’ world of poker – except she doesn’t just dabble, she was in fact the first woman to win the European Poker Tour – netting herself a cool £500k in 2006.
This book describes her journey to that moment – both in life, from when she was taught poker by her uncle, and interspersed with the actual tournament, round by round.
I have to admit, I know nothing about Poker. I have never played a game in my life. And after reading the book, I want to rectify that – but I would be too scared of losing money.
I had to try to learn what ‘the flop’ and ‘the river’ were and which hands trumped others as I was reading, but to tell you the truth, that didn’t matter! Not knowing how the game worked wasn’t detrimental to my enjoyment of the book.
Coren managed to convey the excitement of the hands, the build up within the match in the indivdual rounds without me really knowing what was going on – and that was only part of the book. The alternating chapters were an open and honest account of the often eccentric, generally intelligent and never boring group of characters that she hasd met along the way – at first as a scary bunch that she was trying to get to accept her (as generally the only woman), but who mainly have ended up becoming friends.
I loved the book – I was actually quite upset when it finished…but I need to stop dreaming of becoming a poker champion myself. I’ve never played a hand, and I think it’s probably a little too late for me to start!