For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker by Victoria Coren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 is less about the game, and more about the bizarre and fascinating community that plays it.
Using Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as the metaphorical map through the rabbit-hole is a great device that mirrors the highs and lows of a life spent chasing cards in a game that was going through massive changes due to the internet.
Before reading this book I mainly new Victoria Coren from her great columns in The Observer and The Guardian newspapers, as well as her hosting of the fabulous Only Connect. My admiration for her has only increased since reading the book, the tale of an outsider in the shady world of professional poker, fighting acceptance, mysogyny, and her own addictions along the way. In the end she won me over in the same way she won the EPT - by knowing that "it's really not about the money".
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