WSOP 2011: Victoria Coren gone, remembered, unwrinkled

wsop2011-thumb-blog.pngThe end is never a surprise. From the time we develop any sort of self-awareness, there is that innate understanding that it will all be over someday. Many turn to faith to help them through the years that pass between alpha and omega. Others simply embrace the inevitability and live each day as if it it's the last before they are hit by a falling satellite.

Vicky Coren irons.

As more than 2,000 people made their way toward the Rio convention center for Day 2A, Coren sat in her hotel room staring alternately between her ironing board and her watch. Her skirt needed ironing before she came back to work the short stack of chips she had to defend in the 2011 WSOP Main Event. She got the job done, but didn't want to be late. She swore at the ironing board and left it, albeit uncomfortably, for housekeeping.

Early days on Monday, she found her first pair and flopped her only set of the day. Her opponent turned a flush. There was no justice for the well-pressed.

As you should know, Coren is as good a writer as she is a poker player (some would say even better). When she isn't penning newspaper columns or memoirs, she fills her Twitter feed with a 140-character chronicle of her life. It rarely fails to impress.

It was on this feed that we watched Coren pass today. It was like hospice for the terminally ill. She knew what was going to happen. Whoever prays prayed against it, but she sensed the inevitable. Nearly four hours went by without an ace hitting her hands. The only pair she picked up was that one that turned into a set. Fate could sometime use a slap in the face.


We were prepared to let her pass quietly, just one of the crowd in the steady stream of people who walked with ever-graying pallor toward the back doors of the Rio. That's when something sort of beautiful happened. It was as if a priest asked her if she'd like to say anything before passing on. In never-staccato up-to-140-character lines, she offered this final soliloquy. We present it here unedited.

"Think the tournament will be over for me soon. Ah well. It's like that sometimes.

"Out. That's fine. It was never, ever going to be any different.

"... and you know that when you do, someone is bound to wake up magically with a hand... but you have to do it anyway...

"... It's like the moment, they say, when you're drowning and just stop fighting it. Kind of a beautiful relief. #GoodOldPoker

"But you know what? I can't complain, because I've had a lucky enough life already. Days like that teach you patience. GL to all still in it.."

And she was gone. Too soon, but not without a legacy. Too young, but not without giving us a piece of herself before she left.

We will remember this day for a lot of reasons, but when we look back ten years from now on the day Victoria Coren busted from the Main Event, we are sure to remember this: her skirt didn't have a wrinkle in it.

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