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For Richer, for Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  802 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
In September 2006, Victoria Coren won the European Poker Championship, and with it a cool one million dollars. Overnight, she became one of the world's most famous players. But how did she do it?
In For Richer, For Poorer, Victoria Coren's long-awaited poker memoir, she answers this question. It is an intensely honest story of twenty years of obsession, of highs and lows,
Paperback, 346 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Canongate Books Ltd (first published July 5th 2009)
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Christine Blachford
I really don’t know anything about poker, but I was keen to read this after realising just how fabulous Ms Coren is. Although it is all about the game, it’s not hard to read. Even when going into details about particular hands, you only have to have a basic grasp of deal, raise, and fold, which is the extent of my knowledge. It’s a tale of how one person can do what they love and do it well, and a chronicle of how poker has grown and changed but still retains it’s essence. The most important lin ...more
Lawrence Leporte
Aug 22, 2013 Lawrence Leporte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's face it, there are a lot of rubbish poker books out there. I've wasted hard-won cash on some real stinkers, and have come to view certain types of titles with a degree of caution. Poker players prone to hyperbole? Perish the thought.

The promise of 'secrets' or a 'system' is a red flag (although 'super-system' is okay provided it's written by Doyle Brunson). So too is the suggestion that you can 'earn a living' or somehow 'beat the odds' (each being, as far as I'm concerned, the functional
Apr 25, 2015 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always liked Victoria Coren, I find her classy, witty and funny, and her book is no exception. I like playing cards, too--well, not actually playing with the cards, but the cards themselves (I may have taken on my drunken dad and uncles in a few games as a kid and cleaned house, but I have since completely forgotten how to play any game requiring more skill than blackjack or computer-based games that tell you what the good tricks are or what cards you can play). So, at the very least, I can ...more
Holly Cruise
May 07, 2014 Holly Cruise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I don't really know how poker works, but not knowing my rivers from my big blinds didn't stop me from enjoying this book. I guess that's because it's one of those trick books, which pretends it's about one thing (poker) but is actually about another (geeky, sort-of-daddy's-girl wants to find somewhere where she belongs and does so in an unlikely place). As a geeky, sort-of-daddy's-girl myself, I completely understand.

The internal monologues covering Coren's hands in her triumphant 2006 EPT title
Aug 24, 2011 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this on Amazon for 1 when they were having a Kindle ebook sale. All I had to do was wait until I eventually bought a Kindle. And when I did this was my first book. And what a book!

Victoria Coren, from the crazily talented Coren family, has many strings to her bow. She's hosted Heresy on Radio 4, Only Connect on BBC4, writes for the Guardian and as she's best known in the context of this book, a Poker Champion.

In For Richer, For Poorer, Coren charts her love affair with poker from an ear
May 16, 2011 Sonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 my OH'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 wa
Tyler Jones
Sep 02, 2012 Tyler Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poker
I have read a lot of poker books and until now I have been most unsatisfied with the "personal memoir" style of poker book. Poker players are a slippery bunch and getting one to truly open up in a book seems to be asking the impossible. As a result there are dozens of biographies of poker personalities that are utterly forgettable. Victoria Coren's recent book, "For Richer, For Poorer" blows the doors off any other poker biography on the market. Coren is intelligent, eloquent and humorous, and m ...more
Colin Forbes
Jan 22, 2016 Colin Forbes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Not exactly an autobiography. Definitely not a poker playing 'manual' (although there a few tips scattered through the anecdotes). This is the story of Victoria Coren's poker playing life.

I'm semi-literate when it comes to poker, and occasionally found that the jargon would go over my head, but it didn't trouble me greatly. This is written in a very chatty, friendly style and is full of the wit and dry humour you would expect if you've ever read her newspaper columns.

An entertaining read and an
Dec 07, 2014 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I like Victoria Coren when I see her on the telly. I follow her on twitter because she's witty and clever but still seems down to earth. So, even though I know nothing about poker, I thought I'd give her poker autobiography a go. It's a mixture of "how I fell in love with poker and the things that were going on in my life" and "how I became the first woman to win the European Poker Tour", with the autobiographical stuff making up the bulk of each chapter and then an analysis of that tournament w ...more
Jo Kneale
Jul 14, 2015 Jo Kneale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a fondness for Victoria Coren's wit and honesty on Only Connect, and always assumed that she was a posh girl solely based on her accent. I apologise. In the book what little personal life she shares is interesting and a reminder that a great accent is often misleading.
Victoria's book is a tale of poker and its place in her life. She writes of flushes and pairs and blinds like an expert. .. while I know nothing of poker, the narrative is interesting enough to carry me past. I love how she
Alan Draycott
May 20, 2014 Alan Draycott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very, very good memoir. Superbly structured, with Coren's final table big win scattered through the book as she tells the story of a privately educated outsider deep within the world of poker. The poker talk is excellent, the sickness of gambling, the attraction, the emptiness are all beautifully and amusingly told. When I read the book I had a nagging doubt that an "English rose" like Coren would never fall into this lifestyle. I also thought no English rose would discuss her broken hearts wi ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Plum-crazy rated it really liked it
I'm not one for memoirs or biographies... or even poker for that matter!..but I do like Victoria Coren so I thought I'd give this a go.

It's a funny & personal memoir about friendship & the desire to belong. While it's packed with amusing anecdotes & colourful eccentrics, Coren doesn't shy away from talking about the darker, seedier side of gambling.

Despite having a handy brief glossary at the back of the book, I didn't follow a word of the poker hands described at the end of each
Oct 06, 2014 Merecraft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Partly a biography, partly a treatise on modern poker, and partly the story of how Victoria Coren became the first female million-dollar-winner of the European Poker Tour (she's since gone on to win it a second time), this is one of the most readable books about a complex subject I've ever read.

Part of that is the chatty, witty writing style and, whilst it doesn't hold your hand in explaining the exotic-sounding poker terms and expressions, the book is still completely clear. This is because it
May 02, 2014 Avril rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
I should have guessed that the book would be predominantly about poker which does not interest me, I am however interested in Victoria Coren. I wanted to know why she got into gambling and she is very open about her reasons which include a low self-esteem and a family history which included a number of gamblers, it appeared to be in her blood. However, although the book was very well written with a lovely, wry sense of humour and witty turn of praise, there were too many hands of cards described ...more
Jul 28, 2015 Andrewh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I had thought that Victoria (Vicky) Coren was a journalist who played a bit of poker, like many slebs. This book reveals that she is more of a professional poker player who is also a journalist - she was (is?) even sponsored by the world's biggest online poker site (Pokerstars) to play in tourneys and has won $1.5m (it says here on the blurb).

In fact, she probably a lot more now since she also won the EPT again recently - this is the main event of the European poker to
Apr 27, 2011 thom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd always quite liked the idea of this book. I know little about poker, but I find it intriguing, and I've enjoyed Victoria Coren's writing in the past. Honestly, though, I never expected to enjoy this as much as I did. Her absolute love of the game and its history comes through on every page.

It covers an interesting time for poker, since as the book starts it's still a game kept broadly within the confines of casinos, the odd seedy club and a few home games, but by the end of the book, it's o
I liked this book, despite the occasional detailed descriptions of poker games that went right over my head. I liked the fact that Coren is mostly drawn to the game because it represents (or represented) an underworld full of strange, damaged, fragile people.

Although Coren is down to earth and funny, and passionate about and excited by poker, the book also explores the sadness and nostalgia that it triggers. These were probably my favourite bits. She describes a glorious fortnight in Vegas as f
Update (May 08, 2014)

Having reread the entire book now (I've only done highlighted re-reading before), I felt like a few additions to my review were in order.

It is still true that this book is very well written, and should be enjoyable for you if you're the least bit interested in either its subject or its author. What I didn't realize at the time though was how much this book helped me and how much I actually took from it.
I'll just list a few of my highlights (because it feels wrong to get too
Steve Mitchell
Jul 29, 2011 Steve Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Victoria Coren's book goes straight on to my must read list! The story of her love affair with poker just happens to coincide with the rise in popularity of the game from smoke filled back rooms to Internet overload and celebrity television shows with championship games on the sports channels. I remember coming home from the pub and switching on the television when Late Night Poker was first broadcast; it really should not have worked but it was just so addictive viewing. I do not really want to ...more
Jun 04, 2015 Florence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved. this. book. An extremely interesting account of the life of a poker player. Vicky's love of the game, the players, and probably least of all, the money make for a compulsively readable story full of funny, heart-warming and sometimes heart-breaking anecdotes. She recounts the game as one of logic, joy, comfort, and reward; the constant in her life of ups and downs. A truly gripping glimpse into the life of a poker champion - one might even call it """A REAL PAGE-TURNER""".
Zach Ebben
Dec 12, 2014 Zach Ebben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many successful poker players have tried their hand at writing, but I've yet to find another who writes with the elegance of Victoria Coren. Her memoir is centered around her lifelong relationship with poker, but it's much more love story than strategy guide. This book will make you feel as though Victoria could be your closest friend, if your closest friend had made over a million dollars playing poker and was a world class writer.
Aug 21, 2011 Thermalsatsuma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From early games where she was fleeced by her elder brother, to the swankiest of French casinos via the dazzling lights of Vegas and games in dodgy boozers before coming home to the comforting security of Tuesday games at The Vic, Victoria Coren has mapped out her life in poker. It is a looking glass world, inhabited by characters going by names like Devilfish, J.Q. and The Elegance, who bandy words like big blinds, buttons and flops and are always looking for the turn of the final river card th ...more
Alice Furse
Mar 02, 2014 Alice Furse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best poker book I've ever read - even if you didn't know much about the game it would still be entertaining. Love how she describes it as her love affair with the game, as I've always thought there's something very romantic about card games. The feeling of being intimidated by casinos but wanting to be a part of them is something that most gamblers feel to begin with, but few poker memoirs admit it! A cracking read.
Forest Tong
Mar 30, 2016 Forest Tong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was captivated by this book. Coren gives us a rich look into the world of poker as it developed from a Southern outlaw activity to a giant online industry, told in an extremely personable style. Poker becomes a way of life for her and her friends, with thrilling highs and depressing lows.
Jun 21, 2012 Muriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who is Victoria Coren ? A young lady who wrote an amazing book about Poker ? Not only. Indeed she is a really good writer. But in the same time she is a member of Team Pokerstars Pro! Hence she knows what she’s talking about...

This book can be read without any knowledge of the game (you can find the rules in the last pages) but would be much more appreciated by poker players, or at least people who know how to play. It tells the story of a kid who grew up with the game, it tells a love story bet
Jun 25, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
I've always been a bit of a gambler (not a hugely successful one, but enthusiastic - up to my preset financial limit, of course) and have always wanted to learn to play poker.

I've also been a fan of Victoria Coren for a long time, and when I discovered her poker credentials, and that she'd written this book, I knew I had to buy it.

And I'm glad I did. I love this book. Coren writes entertainingly about her life in poker (though there's rather too much use of the historical present for my taste) a
Nick Davies
Jan 30, 2016 Nick Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was enjoyable - appealing in that I was compelled to keep reading more by the charm/humour of the writing than by the subject of 'poker'. Though she can come over a bit 'hit and miss' on TV at times, Coren's writing was very consistent and witty - as an account of only a certain aspect of her life, it stayed quite light and moved quite quickly, and was ultimately readable as a consequence.
Apr 17, 2010 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I wasn't sure if I was really going to get much out of this book, because I know absolutely nothing about poker, and in the beginning, Victoria Coren doesn't really make allowances for beginners in that field. However, this turned out to be the right approach: I learned far more about poker from this immersion technique than I suspect I would've done from gentle hand-holding. More to the point, this is so much more than just a poker book: while Coren does a brilliant job of capturing th ...more
Claire Jones
May 02, 2014 Claire Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly atmospheric & heartfelt, filled with wonderful characters. Still can't say I understand the poker technicalities, but she makes it all sound darn exciting ;-)
Jun 29, 2014 Elliot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moving in places, especially the stuff about her dad. I didn't realise how deep into the poker she was, I just thought it was a sideline to her other stuff when it turns out its the other way round ;)
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Victoria Elizabeth Coren is an English writer, presenter and professional poker player. Coren writes weekly columns for The Observer and The Guardian newspapers and hosts the BBC Four television quiz show Only Connect.
More about Victoria Coren...

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“And as we walk back down the street, me gingerly clutching what at this point constitutes my entire collection, my father says, ‘One day, when you’re all grown up and I’m not here any more, you’ll remember the sunny day we went to the market together and bought a boat.’ My throat feels tight because, as soon as he says it, I am already there. Standing on another street, without my father, trying to get back. And yet I’m here, with him. So I try to soak up every aspect of the moment, to help me get back when I need to. I feel the weight of the chunky parcel under my arm, and the warmth of the sun, and my father’s hand in mine. I smell the flowers with their sharp undertang of cheap hot dog, and taste the slick of toffee on my teeth, and hear the chattering hagglers. I feel the joy of an adventurous Saturday with my father and no school, and I feel the sadness of looking back when it is all gone. When he is gone.” 3 likes
“A boat beneath a sunny sky, Lingering onward dreamily In an evening of July – Children three that nestle near, Eager eye and willing ear, Pleased a simple tale to hear – Long has paled that sunny sky: Echoes fade and memories die: Autumn frosts have slain July. As a child, I don’t understand exactly what it is about. I can’t read the significance of Alice reaching the final square and becoming a queen. But I feel the sadness in the poem, and, in this later now, I know why. It’s because everything is in the present tense, even though it cannot all be; either some of it has passed, or some of it hasn’t happened yet. The sky is sunny, but it has paled. The boat is lingering, but it is gone. It’s July, but it’s autumn. This is a riddle, a paradox. Lewis Carroll must be either looking back into the past, feeling the sunshine and the drifting boat as if he were still there . . . or looking forward from the present, imagining a time when the sky and the boat and the summer will have vanished. Which is it? Doesn’t matter. Wherever he stands, he feels both at once. The current, the retrospective, the projected, all are written in the present tense because they are all, always, mixed up together. Because, even as something is happening, it is gone. Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt? Where is the boat? Where is the summer? Where are the children?” 2 likes
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