HAVING won close on £2 million makes Julian Thew one of the UK’s most successful touring poker players.
And he’ll be in his home city this week at a tournament that could net the 42-year-old from West Bridgford another wallet busting amount.
“The overall winner is looking at around £80,000,” said Julian, who will be competing against professionals from around the world on the PokerStars UK and Ireland Poker Tour at Dusk Til Dawn in Lenton Lane.
The event runs from tonight until Monday.
Along with the full-time players will be amateurs, among them former England international Teddy Sheringham.
“You see him at a few events,” said Julian. He seems to be quite keen.”
Julian, a father-of-three, didn’t even begin playing poker until he was in his 30s. The former draughtsman initially pursued a career on the water.
“I was a canoeist. I paddled for England for a few years, bubbling around the top ten, although I wasn’t good enough for the Olympics.
“By the time I got to 30 the training was getting a bit much so I packed it in and looked for another competitive outlet.”
After a few games with his brother he got the bug for poker.
“I wasn’t very good,” he admitted.
“But I really enjoyed it.”
He began to study the game from books.
That was about ten years ago. Since then he’s played all over the world, in Melbourne and Monte Carlo so far this year.
“Some people are naturally gifted at it but I certainly wasn’t one of those. I put a lot of work in.”
His wife wasn’t keen on his new career at first, he said.
“I was going out at night and not coming in until four in the morning. It was all legitimate but took place in smokey rooms and was less respectable than it is now.”
He added: “The game has grown a lot in the past five years and the amount you can win in these big tournaments has gone through the roof. At some the prize can be a million euros.”
His biggest win was £400,000 in 2007.
And there have been no big losses along the way.
“You buy in to tournaments for a set price. The one in Nottingham is £500. So that’s all you can lose.
“I’ve always treated it as a job. If I can make enough to support my family then all well and good. Anything extra is a bonus. I do appreciate the value of money having worked for 15 years.”
Despite the big wins he has no real indulgences.
“We’ve paid off our mortgage and had an extension on the house. Pretty dull sensible stuff really. I’m too old for loose women and fast cars.”
He eldest son is just sic but understands what daddy does he a living.
“I don’t want him to get too excited about it,” said Julian.
“I’d rather he got a good education and learn to appreciate a good hard day’s work.”
What makes a good poker player?
“You don’t need to be good at every aspect of the game. If you tick seven or eight boxes out of ten you’ll do OK. I’ve got quite a good temperament and I can be quite patient.”
Does he have a good poker face?
“Not really,” he laughed.
“I tend to smile a lot and giggle.”
The event is open to spectators aged 18 and over. Find out more at www.pokerstarsblog.com.