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Antrim man takes seat for top poker play-off

By Claire Regan

A county Antrim man is hoping for an early Christmas this year as he prepares to take part in a poker tournament which could net him a cool $$1,000,000.

Professional poker player Marty Smyth (right) is gearing up for the semi-final of the Ladbrokes Poker Million VI after battling hard to get a place in what is Europe's longest running and richest tournament.

The 31-year-old will take his place at the competition's penultimate table being hosted tomorrow night at the Marriott Hotel in London. There will be six around the table altogether, and the Greenisland man will be facing some of the biggest names in poker.

He has already battled it out against the poker elite and a range of celebrities, including Danielle Lloyd, Matt Dawson and Brian McFadden, to win his place in the semi-final.

He will take his seat alongside Liam Flood from Kildare, another semi-finalist and well-known name on the poker circuit.

The minimum prize money Marty could leave the semi-final table with is $$25,000 (£12,500), although he is endeavouring to go all the way to the final and scoop the $$1,000,000 (£502,000).

Marty, who has been a professional poker player for six years, admitted to a few nerves ahead of the tense contest.

"I'm looking forward to it, but also a bit nervous too," he said.

"There's not much preparation I can do other than get a good night's sleep. I've been watching footage of the other five guys playing in earlier stages as I'm sure they're doing too, apart from that there's not much more I can do to prepare.

"It is an amazing prize to play for and it would be fantastic to win. But taking part is going to be great as well.

"I'm sure my girlfriend will be able to think of a few things to spend the money on if I scoop the top prize!"

Marty takes part in a handful of tournaments throughout the year, but mostly enjoys playing online.

Following his win at this year's Irish Open in April, he stands a one in twelve chance of taking home the $$1,000,000 at this year's Ladbrokes Poker Million VI.

Samantha Alleyne, PR manager for said: "The 2007 Poker Million VI has been one of the biggest and best yet. This year Ladbrokes have added $$500,000 to the prize pool, which means the final table will be playing for a share of $$2,150,000. We're very excited to see the best players in the world squaring up against the cream of the UK players and online qualifiers in what should be a nail- biting final on the 21st."

Now in its sixth year, the Ladbrokes Poker Million brings together some of the top names in poker. Previous winners include snooker player Jimmy White and newcomer Raj Modha.

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