Poker Book Review: ‘For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker’ By Victoria Coren

Victoria Coren’s book provides a fascinating look into the poker world which has been a large part of her life for over 20 years. In ‘For Richer, For Poorer’ she has a writing style full of honesty and humour which captures the attention of the reader right from the start and helps bring an array of colourful characters and situations to life.
The book takes us on a journey from when Victoria first started playing poker aged 13 up to her winning the European Poker Championship for $1 million in September 2006.
She describes her feeling of awkwardness when she was at school and how she started going to The Vic and other gambling clubs in London with her fake ID to play roulette and blackjack, routinely lose and return home and cry; “Why did I do that? I won’t do it again. Never, ever. Oh, OK, just this once more . . .”
Discovering poker was like discovering a new group of friends for Victoria and she was treated as one of the boys in the mostly men dominated game. She also found herself writing articles and broadcasting for some of the early poker shows before it gained its present level of popularity.
Victoria’s book reaches another plateau when she starts describing her excursions across the world and mentions her travel to Las Vegas to compete in a World Series of Poker tournament. She says: “I wish home was a BIT more like Vegas. It is definitely the best place in the world and one day maybe I’ll live there.” Her description of life in Vegas is engaging in its perception and includes details of loud mouthed gamblers, tip hustling casino waitresses, and her own romantic involvement with a poker player. Despite the heartache she endured as a result she confesses:
“With few exceptions, I love anyone who plays poker, who spends their life in the card room, who is hiding from something and chasing something, who knows there may be a better life elsewhere but is a little too frightened to look for it, who lets the invisible clock tick down as they play hand after hand after hand.”
Victoria’s intensely personal and touching book is a pleasure to read and her candid and witty honesty which presents both the good and bad of the life she has chosen is sure to win over many fans.

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