April 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
A poker player whose career began on the school bus is celebrating a £72,000 Christmas bonus.
Ben Mayhew scooped top prize at the UKIPT Nottingham tournament to claim the biggest win of his career.
The 27-year-old from Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, fought off competition from 458 players at the Dusk Till Dawn Poker Club, and paid tribute to his father, Christopher, who died in March.
Mr Mayhew said: “It’s quite overwhelming.
“Even though he wasn’t here, I felt like he was guiding me through it, even though he hasn’t got the faintest idea about poker. Every time I needed a card, it was there.”
Mr Mayhew is one of three friends that now play the sport professionally having learned the trade playing with their lunch money on the morning bus to Thurston Community College.
“Sometimes you’d go hungry, sometimes you’d have a feast,” said Mr Mayhew, who became professional as soon as he turned 18.
He did briefly give professional poker up for a job as an apprentice financial adviser at the persuasion of an ex-girlfriend, but soon returned to his passion.
Since then, his career has taken him all over the world, with regular trips to Las Vegas as well as tournaments in India, Singapore and the Bahamas.
Despite his aim of making a six-figure sum every year, he insists it is not all glitz and glamour. Mr Mayhew often has to use his own money to pay for flights to tournaments if he has not won a qualifier, and can enter tournaments with as much as a £1,000 buy-in, but leave empty handed.
He said: “I’m not going to go out and buy a Ferrari or anything. I’m going to have a good Christmas, but money is the main tool of my job.
“If I don’t have any money, I can’t work, so I treat it like a builder might treat his cement mixer – I look after it. It’s about being smart with it.
“I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully this might open some doors for me.”