London-born broadcaster, writer and poker player Victoria Coren Mitchell is probably best known as the host of the BBC Television quiz show ‘Only Connect’, which she has presented for over a decade. Nevertheless, she is a highly accomplished poker player, with $2.47 million in live earnings alone. She had the distinction of becoming the first player to win two Main Event titles on the European Poker Tour (EPT), collecting £500,000, or $941,513 – her best live cash to date – in EPT London in 2006 and a further €476,100, or $660, 947, in EPT Sanremo in 2014.
Coren Mitchell started playing poker with her elder brother, Giles Coren, before eventually branching out on her own and playing on legit online casinos. She has regularly played Texas hold’em at the Victoria Casino in London and is apparently close friends with the professional poker players Joe Beevers, Barney and Ross Beevers and Ram Vaswami, collectively known as the ‘Hendon Mob’. Coren Mitchell has also appeared on several televised poker shows, including ‘Celebrity Poker Club’, ‘Late Night Poker’ and ‘The Poker Nations Cup’, written an autobiography entitled ‘For Richer, For Poorer: My Love Affair with Poker’ and, in 2016, was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
Coren Mitchell joined Team PokerStars Pro in 2007, but terminated her contract in 2014 after the new owners, Amaya Gaming, introduced casino gaming on the PokerStars platform. Her decision was purely down to personal principles, rather than any criticism of PokerStars or casinos in general. At the time, she said ‘Poker is the game I love; poker is what I signed up to promote.’
Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly is perhaps best known, nowadays, as the voice of Bonnie Swanson in the Fox animated sitcom ‘Family Guy’. Born in California, but raised in British Columbia, Canada, Tilly was formerly married to the late Sam Simon – co-creator of ‘The Simpsons’ and also a highly accomplished poker player – between 1984 and 1991. However, Tilly became serious about poker in the mid-Noughties –unsurprisingly, not long after meeting long-term partner Phil ‘The Unabomber’ Laak at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Invitational, at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles in 2004 – and has since accumulated just over $1 million in live earnings.
The online and office casino world is vast in its depth, from mobile roulette apps to in the flesh poker play, Tilly demonstrates her it’s possible to win big. Tilly won her first WSOP bracelet in the $1,000 Ladies Only Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in June, 2005, and followed up that victory with another, in the WPT Ladies Night event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. Tilly admitted that, early in her fledgling poker career, she was more interested in playing the game but, in late 2008, announced that she would, in future, treat poker ‘more like a hobby’.
Nevertheless, she returned with a bang when winning Bellagio Cup VI at Bellagio, Las Vegas in July, 2010 – and with it $124,455, her second-best live cash ever – and has been a regular participant in high-stakes events, at home and abroad, ever since. Indeed, her best live cash since her return from ‘retirement’ was the $98,000 she collected for a seventh-placed finish in PartyPoker Premier League VI at Aspers Casino, London in March, 2013.