Quitting the building trade to become a poker professional could sound like a huge gamble but it paid off in spades after Jason Beazley won £42,430 at a major national tournament.
The Markyate player won his seat through a satellite qualifier which booked his place in the PokerStars UKIPT in Edinburgh.
Beazley was up against 427 entrants and went into the final table as the chip leader.
The 24-year-old had his eyes on the first prize of £93,900 but was eventually knocked out in third place by well-known professional Liv Boeree.
Beazley, who plays most of his poker at G Casino in Luton, said: “I’m really happy but I had a realistic shot of winning it. I’m still happy but I would have loved to come back with a trophy.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence and proved I can play in the bigger events.
“But in some ways it’s easier playing against better players because they know what they’re doing.”
He added: “I had a slow start on the first day but then I picked up a few hands at the right times. I went into day three with about 300,000 chips and just kept hitting hands at the right time.
“I felt like I was playing really well. Liv has more experience than me but I felt as if I was playing better but then she won a coin flip which knocked me out when I had a pair of tens against her Ace King.”
Beazley was doing building work until three months ago when he decided to give cards a go after some impressive results.
This success, which is comfortably the biggest cheque of his poker career, has vindicated his decision.
He plans to keep playing over the coming weeks and will compete at the next UKIPT event in Dublin next month as well as the World Series of Poker this summer in Las Vegas.
He said: “I think I will just keep going while I’m playing well. I wouldn’t have considered myself a pro up until now because I was barely making a living.
“But now this will help push me on and I can keep playing in some of the bigger events.”