Learning from the best: Vicky Coren Mitchell, two-time EPT champion
April 20, 2014 was the day Vicky Coren Mitchell became the first person ever to win a second EPT Main Event. It was a momentous day in the history of female poker players and all poker players. Not only did she achieve this great feat, but she did so after scraping through to the final table with a short stack.
So, how did this wonder woman (and perhaps my new girl crush) manage this? It is possible she was incredibly lucky, but I highly doubt it. After watching her play and listening to her comments, it is pretty clear that she won through well-placed, calculated moves.
One of the many things about Coren Mitchell's playing style that I really admire is her ability to enjoy the game. This enables her to be relaxed and play the game in the moment, and I believe that this is her biggest strength. So much of the time, we get caught up with egos and power plays and feelings of insecurity, but Coren Mitchell does not. Despite being the short stack for most of the final day, she did not panic. With each rank she climbed, she was always satisfied with that place. This gave her the freedom to pace herself and wait for the right cards in the right spots and not feel compelled to push too hard with weaker hands. She was able to read each hand for what it was, unprejudiced by the fear of losing.
The turning point for Coren Mitchell came when she knocked Jordon Westmorland out and doubled up. It was then that she became a real contender for first place.
The final heads-up hand saw Coren Mitchell dealt Q♠ and J♣ against Fundaro's pocket aces. I watched with heart in throat as the flop unfolded. I still haven't forgiven pocket aces for letting me down in the UKIPT Isle of Man side event and was secretly pleased to see they were equally as unfaithful to Fundaro. In the end, Coren Mitchell's patience paid off as the flop gifted her two pair and an eventual all-in pot, which, of course, she won.
I guess that this EPT shows it is possible to come back from a short stack and win. It's just a matter of endurance.
Being the only other EPT winner at the final table, she was a viable threat, yet there were no aggressive power plays against her. This was probably because she was on the short stack, but was she also overlooked because she was a woman? Or was it her table etiquette - relaxed and chatty, unassuming? This could be food for thought. But, gender politics aside, Coren Mitchell herself admits there is something about her style of play that people have not figured out yet, and I think this is true.
Her success may have been aided by the fact that she was slightly overlooked, or by the killer instinct which comes from playing in the moment. But, ultimately, her win came down to a truly skillful performance.
Am I surprised that the first two time EPT winner is a woman? Absolutely not! I do wonder how far this goes to prove the adage that for a woman to achieve the same recognition as a man that she has to be vastly superior in ability.
Between Vicky Coren Mitchell's success and the recent popularity of the Women's Sunday, I am beginning to wonder if there is a woman's poker revolution in the air. I certainly hope there is.