HE PLAYS poker for fun rather than fast cash.
But Keith Bartholomew’s hobby turned into a big money-spinner when he won £25,000 in an online poker tournament.
Pitted against 249 other players – some of whom were pros – the 40-year-old was able to play his cards right over a six-hour contest to scoop the top prize.
Keith held his nerve to be the last man standing with most chips in the tournament, hosted by Genting Poker.
His winning hand was a pair of queens against a pair of sevens.
Keith, a pricing analyst from Waterlooville, said: ‘I am quite surprised really.
‘I play poker for enjoyment first and foremost. It’s just a hobby.
‘To win a major tournament, where there’s professionals involved, it’s quite an achievement.
‘I have won a couple of hundred before, but nowhere near this amount.’
While many players paid up to £400 to enter the tournament, Keith got in for free after winning a token in a lottery.
Keith will be donating £1,000 of his winnings to the British Heart Foundation.
It follows the death earlier this year of his friend, Robbie Morl, 57, from Newcastle, from a heart condition.
The pair met in an online poker chatroom.
But the rest of the cash won’t be spent on fast cars or exotic holidays.
Keith said: ‘It comes as a welcome boost and will help to pay a few bills.
‘Unfortunately my central heating packed up the other day and that’s probably what I will spend the money on first. I am probably going to need a new boiler. It’s necessity rather than luxury!’