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Matt Finish Earns GBP90,000 in Sin City!
Jul 19, 2010 (12:07 PM EDT)

WARRINGTON, England, July 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A student from Stratford-upon-Avon has turned a GBP33 game of cards into a GBP90,000 fortune after striking lucky at the prestigious World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

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Matt Harris, 21, won a coveted $10,000 seat in the biggest poker tournament on the planet when he triumphed in the Betfred UK Student Poker Championship at Birmingham's Broadway Casino in April.

And after taking his place in the world's entertainment capital with more than 7,000 of the best poker players from around the globe, Matt found the cards turning in his favour as he finished in a fantastic 57th position worth $138,285 (GBP90,250).

"It was an absolutely amazing experience and so exciting... it still hasn't sunk in," said Matt after returning from his all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas provided by Betfred.

"Only a few months ago I paid GBP33 to enter the Betfred UK Student Poker Championship and next thing I'm playing on the same table as star poker players such as Annie Duke and Tony Dunst."

Matt reached day seven of the event and also sat at the feature table before his hopes of reaching the November showdown for the final nine players, worth a minimum of GBP500,000, were cruelly dashed.

"My first aim was to reach the top 10% who cashed and after a shaky start on day one, I did really well over the next few days," said Matt, who studied at Exeter University.

"The field was being reduced very quickly, but I managed to keep surviving and after I had made it into the top 10% there was no pressure on me.

"It was upsetting that I had to go out on such a bad beat though. I went all in with a pair of kings and was called by a player with ace-king who hit an ace on the river. If the hand had gone my way, my chip stack would probably have been in the top 20."

Matt, whose Facebook account was flooded with good-luck messages throughout the tournament, hopes this could be the start of a glittering poker career for him.

"My family and friends are all really happy for me and I plan to use some of the money I won to enter some more poker tournaments," said Matt, who also has his eye on a new car.

"But none of this would have been possible without the UK Student Poker Championship, so I'm really grateful to the organisers of that and to sponsors Betfred for providing such an amazing prize package."

Fred Done, boss of Betfred, the world's biggest independent bookmaker, added: "I'm proud of Matt for performing so brilliantly in Las Vegas and he represented Betfred with tremendous credit.

"It's fantastic to be able to give students such as Matt the opportunity to display their poker talent on the biggest stage of all and I'm delighted to be supporting the thriving student poker scene in the UK."

*** Note to Editors:

If you would like to interview Matt Harris, please inform Jon Wilde via the contact details on the footer of this document.