Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Poker king hits $1m jackpot

Poker player

A professional poker player from Belfast is celebrating after scooping the $1m jackpot at a tournament in London at the weekend.

Marty Smyth has earned more than $3.5m throughout his card playing career but claiming the top spot in the Ladbrokes Poker Million VII is his biggest win so far.

It was an unlikely victory, as he had to claw his way back into the reckoning after making a disastrous start to the championship.

"I got off to a bad start - I played a big hand and thought I was winning but it turns out I wasn't," he said.

"At that stage, bookmakers were offering odds of 66/1."

Four of the six players who reached the televised final were Irish, and Mr Smyth admits the cards fell nicely for him as he saw off their challenge.

"Poker is a mixture of skill and luck - I like to think I played quite well but certainly after that big hand lots of things went my way," he said.

Although Mr Smyth is a professional gambler, he said there was no chance of him squandering his winnings in a hurry.

"I'm fairly sensible - I've enjoyed a lot of success in the last couple of years, but I'm aware that might not be the case forever," he said.

"Any time I get a big win like this, I try to be sensible with it and invest the lion's share of it."

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