IF Liam Duffy plays his cards right he and fiance Tanya Pickthorne will have the wedding of their dreams.
Professional poker ace Liam of Aspull scooped nearly £15,000 at the recent Sky Poker UK Poker Championships in Nottingham - Europe’s biggest poker venue.
It’s a hobby really. I started playing just with friends and then it just spiralled after they all got bored of me winning all timeLiam Duffy
His win is just in time for arranging romantic plans for Tanya, his childhood sweetheart, who has been planning their big day since their engagement two years ago.
And football-loving Arsenal fan Liam says reaching the final table of the top nine players and eventually finishing runner-up in the two-day competition was a brilliant result.
And his first call was to Tanya, 25, to tell her of the second biggest win of his poker career.
He said: “It was a tough competition with some very good players and professionals taking part.”
But this isn’t the first time the 26-year-old has hit the jackpot. Just last year the self-employed heating engineer banked an impressive £25,000 in a tournament.
Liam, who started playing the game at 18, but only began playing professionally last April, describes his victory as just another notch on his belt.
He said: “Being self-employed it’s always great to have the extra money as a comfort blanket. But I would never rely on it.
“Don’t get me wrong there have been times when I have lost a lot as well. I went through a period for about three or four years where I hardly won and Tanya at one point was so worried and she really wanted me to quit playing. She loves it though really, I always treat her when I win.
“It’s always a risk and I think that by working for myself it gives me a sense of realism to not get too involved with it as I don’t want to lose everything I’ve been working so hard for.
“But I just enjoy it, it’s a hobby really. I started playing just with friends and then it just spiralled after they all got bored of me winning all time.
“I couldn’t believe it the first time I won.
“But then I just kept on winning so it gave me the optimism to carry on.”
Liam now plays 30 hours of poker each week alongside his 30 hour a-week job.
And all of his winnings have been put in a savings pot for the family’s future.