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For Richer, for Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker [Hardcover]

Victoria Coren
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Sep 2009
In September 2006, Victoria Coren won a million dollars on the European Poker Tour. In this, her long-awaited memoir, Coren tells the story of that victory, but also of a twenty-year obsession with the game. It is a journey which has taken Coren from a secret culture of illegal cash games to the high-stakes glamour of Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, and brought with it friendship, laughter and money, but also loneliness, heart-break and defeat. With disarming honesty, Victoria Coren lays all of this bare. For Richer, For Poorer also tells the story of the poker revolution. How did this cult card game, populated by a small community of colourful and eccentric players, move from the back streets to the mainstream in a few short years? It is a fascinating story from a trusted insider.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; 1st edition (17 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847672914
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847672919
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A touching, personal memoir and a glimpse into the fascinating, colourful, deeply flawed world she loves so much. -- Dave Gorman

It's faithful, epic, and true to every loveable miscreant she's faced across the green baize. -- Jesse May

Shrewd and - for a poker player - astonishingly modest and frank. A class act. -- Al Alvarez

Terrifically funny and terribly moving. Victoria Coren plays cards like a demon and writes like an angel.
-- Patrick Marber

Victoria Coren writes, on several levels, with wit, honesty, and perfect freshness. -- Martin Amis


Shrewd and - for a poker player - astonishingly modest and frank. A class act.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality in your hand 12 Dec 2009
Of all the books I have read on poker in the last few months this is the only one that conveys any atmosphere, real feeling or depth. You can explain anything technically, but if someone described kissing the way most books talk about poker you'd never want to try it. This book conveys what it's like to give poker a passionate snog and feel your knees wobble. The prose is a joy to read.

By way of explanation - I'm learning about poker from a starting point of no knowledge whatsoever, hoping to make it into the gaming industry and a friend recommend I read up on Victoria Coren's articles on poker and her website. I was lucky - this book was due out the week after and I yummed it up, cover to cover. Poker aside, it's an honest and moving memoir, as well as being pant wettingly funny in places.

Oh and I start my new job in poker next week. I can say this book was instrumental in helping me understand so much more than the technical. I've snogged poker and I liked it...
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164 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Belter 23 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A lifetime ago I saw Vicky Coren in a pub in Oxford. Didnt know her from Adam Dalgliesh at the time - she stuck in my mind because although she looked like a right posh bird, she laughed like the lovechild of Sid James and Dot Cotton.

A few years later she turned out to be An Famous and more especially, An Famous who played cards on the telly. An Famous who played cards on the telly, who I'd seen in a pub. Brilliant. Pub Story Gold. According to the rules of popular culture she became an anecdotal fixture in my life whenever poker, laughing and/or posh birds came up in the conversation.

"That Vicky Coren, yeah she used to drink in my local, got the best laugh in the world that girl, and she plays cards on the telly. She's lovely she is."

All based on nothing of course but clearly repeated often enough to ensure that when Once More With Feeling hit the bookstores I got 7 copies as birthday presents. I had to return 6 of them and I'm pretty sure I'm still known to the staff in my local bookshop as "the porn book guy".

So, skip some years and replay the scene. This year I only got 4 copies of For Richer, For Poorer - clearly I've lost some mates over the years - but still not a bad show. In the birthday gift Top 10 that got her third spot behind some rather nice malt whisky and a painting by Sadie Hennessy - a good result for a random, one anecdote, half serious, 14 year old, pretend celebrity crush.

And now she's gone and ruined it.

Not only has she written one of the most honest books about the poker lifestyle ever, but in a surprise move she's thrown the rules of conventional Celeb-Biography out of the window - she's only gone and been straight up about herself.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, but... 2 Sep 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like Victoria Coren's sense of humour, but I confess I have no interest whatsoever in poker. Thankfully the book is more of an autobiography, amusingly told, but - and this probably deserves a "well obviously!" - there is a lot of content here about poker, strategies, and the outcomes of games. I admit I did skim some of these sections which by and large fall at the end of chapters where they describe the progress of a key game in Victoria's poker career. There is much talk of the "button", the "river", "flops" and so on, and these are explained in a brief appendix at the end of the book.

If you're a fan of poker and Victoria Coren you'll love it. If you're a fan of one but not the other you'll probably just like it more than anything.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Victoria Coren has been playing poker for 15 years and unlike most gamblers, has won quite a nice sum of money, not least in 2006 when she won $1m in the European Poker Championships. The subtitle of her book, "A Love Affair with Poker" hits it on the nail, but this is a love affair with no happy ending, just a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, complete ecstasy when things go well and misery when they don't.

You have to admire her persistence. She joined the world of poker when it meant mixing with disreputable people in dingy clubs, the lure of the cards overcoming the distaste for her surroundings. The book, For Richer For Poorer, chronicles her journey from playing her big brother Giles and his friends for pennies, through to the time when she carries a fat roll of bank-notes around with her.

You'd expect the daughter of humorist Alan Coren to be witty, and For Richer For Poorer is certainly light-hearted enough. Victoria can laugh at herself, and her self-deprecating, almost confessional tone makes the reader warm to her. The book is autobiographical throughout, starting with stories of her childhood and ending with the sad death of her father, the much loved writer and broadcaster.

Victoria hated school with a passion but writes amusingly enough about her childhood and her family. When she is freed from school she develops a stand-up comedy act and travels around America before going to University to study English Literature. On leaving she commences her career as a journalist and begins serious poker playing at the Victoria Sporting Club (the "Vic") in Edgware Road and at the Stakis in Russell Square.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars For Richer For Poorer
I came to this book as someone with little (if any) knowledge of poker but I don't think that stops you from enjoying the book. Read more
Published 9 days ago by kindler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you like Poker and Ms Coren good value
Published 13 days ago by butterfly
5.0 out of 5 stars Class is permanent
Vicky coren mixes personal and poker stories well describing her love for the game of poker as well as some of changing face this humorous biographical account of her life is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Éadaoin norris
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting and thought provoking
Good insight into the pros and cons of poker and life in general. Food for thought for this wanna be poker player.
Published 1 month ago by Doug E Squires
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Not Just About The Cards
What a great book. I can't recommend it enough. Please don't think that this book is purely about Poker, it is not. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dickens
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Time EPT Winner Crushes It
This is a great book from a great writer, a presenter of high brow quiz shows, and now two time EPT winner. Read more
Published 2 months ago by tomrankin
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging although didn't convert me
I've always liked her as a screen presence and had read her husband's autobiography as a holiday read and enjoyed it, so I expected to enjoy this too and on the whole I did,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by C. M. Drazin
3.0 out of 5 stars Book review
After finding out that Victoria Coren had been (and perhaps still is) a successful poker player, I thought the book might be an interesting read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roger Shenton
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Loved it. She is a natural - likeable and hugely enjoyable whether or not you are a poker player yourself
Published 2 months ago by mrs mary gordonsmith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent depiction of the world and allure of poker
In this book Victoria Coren gives an honest and extremely well-written (I wouldn't have expected anything less from her) account of her journey into the sometimes slightly sinister... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ruby T
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