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How Victoria Coren Mitchell Took Female Poker Players To The Top Of The Table

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How Victoria Coren Mitchell Took Female Poker Players To The Top Of The Table

To celebrate International Women's Day (8th March), we take a look at poker legend, writer and broadcaster Victoria Coren Mitchell's record-breaking career at the table.

It's the 24th September 2006, and two are left in the London leg of the European Poker Tour (EPT), one of the world's most prestigious poker competitions. Victoria Coren Mitchell (née Coren) has just made a straight on the flop and traps her rival, the Australian Emad Tahtouh, who decides to go all in. Coren Mitchell immediately calls and the adrenaline of the moment brings her to her feet. Tahtouh looks on in despair.

He knew what had just happened, and the flip of the river card confirmed it. Coren Mitchell had become the first female player to win an EPT title. She had beaten nearly 400 other professional players on home turf, the Victoria Casino (known as 'The Vic') on London's Edgware Road, to take the £500,000 prize and propel herself into poker stardom. She recently reflected on one of her career-defining wins on Twitter last month, saying: "If I had a time machine, that is the moment I'd visit. Never mind the building of the pyramids, I'd just take that night again."

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Known to many for her equally impressive career as a writer, pundit, and broadcaster, Coren Mitchell has battled some of the world's best poker players, winning over $2.5m as a professional. She was first introduced to the game by her older brother as a teenager and entered her first tournament in 2001, starting out in low bet competitions before working her way up to bigger prize pools.

Coren Mitchell went on to topple more records in her poker career. Beyond her first EPT title victory, she is the only person to win both a televised professional and celebrity poker competition, beating sporting legends (and even royalty) at the Celebrity Poker Club tournament in 2006. In 2011, she narrowly missed out on the International Federation of Poker's inaugural World Championship, losing to Raul Mestre on the final table.

She made history again in 2014 by winning her second EPT title at the Sanremo leg in Italy. Her queen-jack hand held on the flop against Giacomo Fundaro's pair of aces, and she became the first ever two-time EPT champion. Her stellar career at the table earned her a place in the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2016.

Outside her successful poker career, she is the host of BBC Two quiz show Only Connect, a columnist for The Telegraph, and has appeared as a guest on popular shows including Have I Got News For You, QI, and The Last Leg. As a poker and gambling specialist, she has also presented shows such as Channel 4's Late Night Poker and The Poker Nations Cup, World Poker Tour for ITV2, and has provided commentary for televised poker tours and competitions.

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In the male-dominated world of poker, Victoria Coren Mitchell's illustrious career and her history-making EPT wins have certainly inspired many other women to enter the game.

Thomas Thorn
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