A 21-year-old university dropout has the chance to win $10m (£8m) after reaching the final of the world’s most prestigious poker tournament.
Nick Marchington from Hornchurch, Essex, will be at the table for the final of the World Series Of Poker in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
The newcomer to professional poker defeated over 8,500 players to become one of the final nine battling for the big prize.
He will walk away from the table with at least $1m (£795,000) even if he finishes in ninth place.
Mr Marchington has only been playing professionally for a year after dropping out of his computer science degree at the University of Hertfordshire to bet full time.
This tournament is the first time he has been legally allowed to play in the US due to the gambling age limit in the country.
Mr Marchington only turned 21 in December.
He said: “It’s absolutely crazy and feels so surreal – an unbelievable experience.”
The former student is the only British player to make it to the final, and will be the first to ever take the top prize if he wins.
Four of his final opponents are American, as well as one German, one Canadian and one Iranian-German.
Mr Marchington first heard of poker as a teenager and was attracted to the strategy involved.
He said: “I love the game. I take it very seriously and put in the same number of hours, more probably, as if I was doing a regular nine-to-five job.
“I had built up a sufficient bankroll playing online and in tournaments that I could afford to come out to Las Vegas for the main event.
“It’s the most prestigious tournament in the world. It was a no-brainer as I had the money.”
Mr Marchington left university two years into his degree despite the worries of his family that he would not be able to make a living.
He said: “I was more interested in playing poker although I had wanted to get a degree.
“At the end of the day, the poker won.
“I had to work hard and believe in myself and my ability. I gave myself six months to make playing poker work or I would have gone back to my studies.”
Although he will enter the final table with the fewest chips, Mr Marchington is quietly confident that he can win the tournament.
He said: “I am going to give it my best shot.
“My aim is to win.”
He will be supported at the final by his mother Allie, 52, as well as his grandparents Kathy and Brian who are all flying out to Las Vegas.
His mother had been eagerly following her son’s progress on TV and was able to watch the moment he made it into the final despite the eight-hour time difference.
Mr Marchington said: “There is a 30-minute delay on the telly and I got through to her just seconds after the final table had been reached. She was crying because she was so happy for me.
“It’s going to be phenomenal to have my mum and my grandparents here supporting me. I can’t wait to see them and have them cheering me on.”
He added that he might invest in a house and buy more Bitcoin, as well as playing in more international tournaments if he wins.
In the future the 21-year-old said he plans to start his own business.
He added: “I won’t always be playing poker.”