POKER player Gareth Boyle has his sights firmly set on the bright lights of Las Vegas after securing himself the trip of a life-time to the city that never sleeps.
The 28-year-old will be jetting off to Nevada later this month after finishing in the top five of a national pub poker tournament.
Qualifiers for the prestigious VEGAS100 event secured their place at various live events around the UK, with Mark progressing through to the national final in Manchester where he finished in the top five to secure his slot.
“It was very tense in the final because whoever finished sixth won £400 instead of going to Las Vegas,” Gareth told the Observer.
“It was an amazing feeling to finish in the top five. To go to Las Vegas is a once in a life-time opportunity so both myself and my partner are having a few sleepness nights preparing for it.
“I’ll be playing in two tournaments over there so it works out that we’ll have two days of playing poker and three days to ourselves so we’ll have a lot to fit in but we’re really looking forward to it.”
Gareth, who lives in Tile Hill, got into poker through playing with his friends and since then he has entered local tournaments but he still puts his victories down to pot luck.
“Someone has got to win but it’s all down to pot luck. I know a bit about the hands and the cards but sometimes you’re out quick and sometimes you make it big.
“I’ll need a bit of luck in Las Vegas because I don’t think I’m as good as most of the other players but if you get a bit of luck on the day and you win a few blufs who knows what can happen.”
Now in its tenth year, VEGAS100 is the UK’s largest live pub poker league with more than 1,000 venues and 180,000 players registered with the event since it was launched.
The national winners travel out to America on May 26 for a week-long trip and a chance to win a slice of the £12,000 prize pool and a £5,000 sponsorship deal.
This year the players and guests will have the opportunity to take part in an additional tournament with over $6000 worth of prizes which includes a return trip to Las Vegas and a seat into a World Series of Poker event in 2017.
Martin Green, managing director of Redtooth Poker, added: “We are delighted to finally secure our 100 players for the trip to Las Vegas. All have done remarkably well to reach this stage, progressing through from their local pubs to numerous regional and national tournaments.
“These are the best pub poker players in the UK so they fully deserve this once in a lifetime trip to America.”