British University Dropout Wins Prestigious Poker Tournament

Jul 10

London, England - British university drop-out Nick Marchington may not have achieved his ultimate goal at the prestigious World Series of Poker, but he still went home a millionaire.

Marchington wanted to be the first British player and the youngest winner of the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. But the 21-year-old failed to bag the $10 million top prize and settled for seventh place instead. This feat actually isn’t bad for a first appearance at this tournament. Marchington went home for $1,525,000 for his efforts.

Marchington just turned 21 in December, which means this was the first tournament he could legally participate in, considering the US gambling age limit. When he decided to drop out of university to become a professional poker player, his family was not too happy with the decision. But he successfully changed their opinion about playing poker being a real job when he took his seat at the championship table.

He told Poker Central: “It’s been especially nice to get a lot of support from my close family. I think that for a while they weren’t so happy with me playing poker as my profession, they didn’t even see it as a profession, so this run is nice because it makes them feel happy about what I do.” His grandparents and his mother all flew to Las Vegas to support him at the finals.

Before the final, his mother has been following his progress in the competition only on TV, and because of the 30-minute delay of the telecast, he was able to talk to his mother on the phone mere seconds after the final table was reached. She cried happy tears and decided to be with him in Vegas for the final.

Much of Marchington’s playing prior to the World Series has been online, and he has only ever won real money from playing poker at one live tournament where he placed 19th. He first heard about the game as a teenager and fell in love with 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.”

Asked why he dropped out of his computer science course at the University of Hertfordshire, this is what he has to say: “I was more interested in playing poker although I had wanted to get a degree. At the end of the day, the poker won.” But the 21-year-old acknowledges that he can’t rely on his poker skills for the rest of his life, and says he plans to use his winnings to start his own business. “I won’t always be playing poker,” he said.

Speaking about making it into the final on his very first stint at the World Series of Poker, he said, “It’s absolutely crazy and feels so surreal--an unbelievable experience...I am going to celebrate by getting some sleep.”

Marchington bravely went into the final battle with the shortest stack of chips, but two other players got knocked out of the game before he was eliminated. He beat out more than 8,500 poker players to get to seventh place.