Ulster poker ace walks off with £51,000 from contest
Winning a cool $100,000 (£51,000) might go a long way towards making the average person's Christmas a special one.
But it's all in a day's work for Ulster poker pro Marty Smyth who has scooped just that amount in a major international card tournament.
Marty (30) who is originally from north Belfast, was one of around 25,000 online players who joined the Ladbrokes Poker Million Final tournament this summer hoping to win the top prize of $$1.2m.
Card ace Marty worked his way through the different stages of the competition to earn his place at the final table last Friday, where he pitted himself face-to-face against other top players from around the world.
"I used to watch these on television every year, and then a few years ago I managed to qualify for one myself by playing on the internet," he said.
"I played last year and went out in the first round, but I managed to qualify again this year and I got all the way down to the final table. Unfortunately, I was the first one out of the table, but I still picked up a few quid for it."
The competition was broadcast live from Sky's studio to more than 100 million viewers around the world. The finalists' families watched from Ladbrokespoker.com's celebrity poker party at The Marriott in London.
Marty said he was disappointed at getting so tantalisingly close to the big prize, but said he was pleased with his sixth place haul nonetheless.
"It's the biggest win I've ever had in one day, but I've had a few days on the net where I've won and lost amounts up to $$50,000," he said.
"I'm not going to rush out and buy any Ferraris or start running about in Armani suits no matter how much money I make. It's just a little bit more security."
Marty would not reveal how much he makes each year from his playing, but said: "Over the last few years it has been fairly consistent. I make a lot more than I would make working!"