JUBILANT Sun reader Ky Maciejewski is heading for the 888poker-sponsored World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas next month – after winning an amazing FREE-to-enter competition with his favourite newspaper and website.
The 41-year-old self-employed builder scooped the mouthwatering first prize of a £9,787 ($12,500) 888poker package including a £7,830 ($10,000) seat into the most prestigious Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in the poker calendar.
The five-night stay at the Vdara boutique hotel together with money for travel and expenses all takes place against the backdrop of the gaming capital of the world.
And it didn’t cost him a penny.
Ky battled through hundreds of players who took part in the two-day event organised by SunOnline and 888poker.
Now he has his chance of playing for the multi-million pound top prize. Being a 888poker qualifier entitles him to the SuperSizeME promotion which would guarantee him £7.83m ($10m) and the coveted WSOP bracelet for winning the Main Event.
Ky said: “It’s a dream come true.
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“I still can’t quite believe it. It’s the most phenomenal feeling to know that I am going to be taking part in the WSOP Main Event alongside the world’s top players.
“It is one of the best moments of my life.
“888poker has certainly taken back the game and given ordinary people like myself the opportunity to play for untold riches in a game that has given me many hours of pleasure.”
Ky, who lives near Bicester, Oxfordshire, saw details of the tournament on SunOnline last week and thought it was a brilliant opportunity to fulfil one of his bucket list dreams of taking part in the WSOP sponsored by 888poker.
He took time out to read the playing tips from 888poker Ambassadors Chris Moorman and Sofia Lovgren and then set aside time to play on Saturday evening.
Ky added: “I finished fitting some patio doors, got home and had a shower and something to eat.
“I was just about to join the tournament when a friend phoned and I didn’t start playing until the game had been underway for ten minutes.
“I made it through to day two when 45 players started with 10,000 chips each. I decided to play aggressively to try and reach the Final Table when the prizes kicked in.
“I was determined to do well but I had no expectations of winning. That feeling only started when it got down to nine of us left. I thought I had a chance.
“When there was four of us, I had 250,000 chips but lost a quarter of them in one hand.
“One of my friends sent me a message to keep going and the very next hand I knocked out another player, that’s when the adrenalin really started to pump.
“After just over four hours I was heads-up with another player battling for the main prize. I prepared myself for at least another hour of play – if not more.
“But the very first hand he pushed in all his chips and tried to bluff me. I called with my Ace-four. Thankfully, I hit a four on the flop and went on to win the hand and the tournament.
“I was jumping around the room, punching the air. It was an incredible moment.”
Previously, Ky’s biggest poker payout had been £1,000 a couple of years ago. He started playing when he was 18 with friends in his local pub.
He explains: “In those days we played for a fiver on a Friday or Saturday night in our local pub, The Butchers Arms in Fringford.
“Over the years we have continued playing pub and home games – but as we grew older, married and had families they became less frequent.
“But we all really enjoyed the games when we did manage to get together and break open a few beers with the cards and poker chips.”
Ky says he started playing online with 888poker about five years ago. Small tournaments lasting anything from 20 minutes to bigger competitions which can go on for hours.
He says: “I have always loved the game and the challenge of playing against other people. But I am only a recreational player and never play above my means. That’s what so good about 888poker – it has brilliant tournaments to suit every pocket.
“I am so happy they have given me the opportunity to play in the WSOP Main Event – I am going to enjoy every minute of it.”
Now Ky, who has never been to Las Vegas before, is getting ready to take his seat in the tournament which is held at the Rio Hotel and Casino Resort.
He is scheduled to play on July 10 with the winner being crowned on July 22.
Friends have already said they will be flying out to support him but Ky reckons his biggest fan is his 13-year-old daughter, Poppy.
He explained: “She already knows that if I do well and get in the money she’ll be getting a lovely present.
“But before then I expect I will have to beat more than 6,000 other players. I’ll give it my best shot.
“Bring it on.”