London-based journalist and TV presenter, Victoria Coren is one of the most accomplished female poker players around. She made history when she became the first woman to win the prestigious European Poker Tour (EPT), taking home a £500,000 first place cash prize.

Since then she has remained driven and has doubled her tournament winnings. Poker.co.uk named her one of the top five female players in 2013 so far, after “scoring well in London in March after a 9th place finish in the PokerStars UKIPT £2,000 High Roller and then going even better in the £10000 High Roller by finishing in sixth place for a payout of £67,130.”

The Team PokerStars Pro first started playing poker against her brother Giles when she was still a teenager. “I wanted to spend time with boys, because they seemed endlessly fascinating and mysterious,” Coren told the International Business Times. “I soon discovered boys were easy to understand; it was poker that was fascinating and mysterious.”

…she struggled to fit in…

Coren wasn’t always the celebrated player and presenter of Late Night Poker that she is today. At the start of her career she struggled to fit in with the typical poker crowd. The first time she ever stepped into The Victoria Casino in London’s West End she literally ran away. “I though, they’re all male, all cockneys, all between 40 and 70,” said Coren. “How can I, a middle-class girl, fit in? Then I realised it could never be scarier than walking into the school canteen.”

Coren, who presents quiz show Only Connect, has come a long way since then, now playing alongside millionaires at guarded private games. Her poker career isn’t the only part of Coren’s life that has improved as well. Since stating that she was “married to poker” and that marrying someone would be like “gambling with your whole life” back in 2009, Coren took the dive and was wed to comedian and star of Peep Show, David Mitchell last year.

…Coren now happily balances her poker achievements with her married life…

“I was never especially bowled over by the concept of marriage in principle – it’s not something I was particularly looking to do,” she told the IBTimes. “But if you meet the right person, it doesn’t feel like a gamble at all, it feels like the easy and obvious thing to do.”

Coren now happily balances her poker achievements with her married life, saying: “My poker life continues, really – I play online at home, and I still travel to tournaments. David keeps me company if he’s not working, or not if he is – he’s pretty easy-going and flexible, and he knew he was marrying a poker player.”

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