SELF-EMPLOYED builder Ky Maciejewski knows all about winning The Sun's 888poker satellite package to the amazing World Series Of Poker Main Event.
...He did it last year and had the time of his life in Las Vegas.
COMPETITION Win WSOP seat and Las Vegas trip worth £9,500 with our exclusive 888poker event… and it’s free to enter
The regular Sun reader, 42, describes himself as a purely recreational player but was thrilled to have won the £9,500 888poker package.
The trip included his £7,500 tournament seat, a five-night stay together with money for travel and expenses in the gaming capital of the world.
Now Ky is hoping he might make it two years on the trot although he reckons he will be up against hundreds of other Sun readers determined to try and win.
The champion will have the opportunity to play against the world greatest players including 888poker Ambassadors Martin Jacobson and Basildon-born Chris Moorman, the top online poker player in the world in tournament winnings.
WIN A SEAT AT WSOP IN VEGAS
TONIGHT there is another chance to take part in our exclusive FREE-to-enter online Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament with the second of our THREE starting Day 1 events for Sun readers ONLY.
The winner will be the last player standing on Day Two of the event on Monday June 11 and will receive an incredible prize.
The award will be a £9,500 prize package including a £7,500 seat into the WSOP Main Event, five nights at the amazing Vdara Hotel, Las Vegas - July 3 to July 8.
The winner will also receive an invitation to an 888poker welcome session, an 888live poker kit and daily transport from the Vdara to the Rio Hotel and Casino.
So play your cards right and it could be YOU jetting off to the gaming capital of the world, to take part in the 888poker-sponsored World Series Of Poker Main Event, with millions in prize money up for grabs.
Simply go to 888poker and download the easy-to-use software - make sure you register to 888poker prior to the tournament to allow you to choose your online player user name.
You will not have to deposit any money.
Alongside Ky, a staggering 7,220 players took part in last year's Texas Hold 'Em tournament - the most prestigious event in the annual poker calendar.
That put the prize pool at a mouth-watering £50million. A total of 1,084 players got paid with the minimum cash being £10,000.
The entry fee for the tournament was £7,500 - unless of course you were Ky... it didn't cost him a penny thanks to the online poker kings at 888poker and The Sun Online.
Ky battled through hundreds of players who took part in the two-day free-to-enter competition.
He was also chosen to represent Team UK alongside Captain Chris Moorman who has won £15m playing live and online poker.
"I was learning from the best," says Ky, as he was given poker tips from the top poker players in the world.
After finishing his first full day of play, Ky, proudly wearing his Sun T-shirt, talked exclusively about the tournament.
He said: "Well, I did it. My first goal was to reach Day Two. I only had 11,200 chips left - but I survived. And I have had one of the best days of my life.
"Before I started playing, I had all these preconceived ideas about starting slowly and settling into the game.
"I wanted to have a good look around and see how the other players on my table were shaping up.
"Sizing up who were the aggressive people at the table and to how keep hold of my 50,000 chip starting stack.
"But that plan went out of the window on the very first hand. I picked up a pair of kings and obviously I was going to play them strong.
"I ended up winning the pot of around 4,000 chips. I'd got off to a flying start and raking in those chips gave me a fantastic boost of confidence.
"I looked down at my next two cards and saw Jack-Ten suited - my favourite starting hand.
"The three community cards were dealt and it gave me a flush and a straight draw. I bet but nobody called and I picked up another pot of 1,500 chips."
Ky, who lives near Bicester, Oxfordshire, has only ever played poker in the pub with his pals - this was his first experience of a live tournament.
And he couldn't have chosen a bigger one to get started.
After his early success, Ky admits he didn't get a genuine starting hand for at least an hour - but at least he was able to stay out of trouble.
Instead, he was able to soak up the incredible atmosphere.
Ky explains: "The number of people playing was phenomenal - every single poker table in the building was full-up. There was an amazing buzz.
"You could feel it in the air and all the time you could hear the rattling of chips.
"There were people from all over the world. Every age, shape and size.
"But at the table you are all equal. Whether you are a top professional or a recreational player like myself.
"There is always that element of luck that can change the fortunes of the game. There really is nothing quite like it.
"I had to laugh when an eccentric American guy dressed as Elvis Presley, all in red, came to the table just after we had been playing for around two hours.
"He had just paid his £7,500 entry fee. On his second hand he pushed all his chips into the pot and lost the lot when he got called by a better hand.
"He had lasted just two minutes and all he could say was: 'Thanks, guys. Good luck. I'm off back to Los Angeles.'"
Ky's chips went up and down. He peaked at 78,000 but for long periods he couldn't pick up any playable hands.
He admits it was mentally tough and needed a high-level of concentration.
Ky added: "I had to stay focused. But I was running on the adrenalin. It was such an incredible feeling to be playing in the biggest poker event in the world.
"At one point, 888poker Ambassador Sofia Lovgren was sitting next to me.
"We had a good chat and I explained that it was partly because of her that I was there in the first place.
"As part of The Sun tournament she had given her tips for playing the game and obviously I picked up on them.
"Unfortunately, it didn't help me stopping her taking some of my chips.
"Chris Moorman was on a table behind me and he came over and wished me luck. I was on cloud nine.
"I ended the day with 11,200. It's wasn't the greatest stack but I was still there and anything was possible. Thousands of players had already busted out.
"I was so pleased to have made the second day and so proud to have still been in the tournament. I wanted to build my chips back up again and see how far I could go.
"One thing was for sure - I was going to give it my best shot."
Unfortunately, joy turned to heartache for Ky as he crashed out of the tournament in the worst possible way - with a pair of ACES, the best starting hand in the game.
He had to keep his best poker face when he looked down at poker's top pair with only one other player in the pot.
All the chips went in and when the cards were turned over, Ky thought he was in with more than a chance when his opponent showed a pair of kings - giving him just two chances of success.
Sadly, one of those kings came down on the flop and Ky was bowing out of the event.
Ky said last night that he had loved every minute of his time in the competition and he only wished he had gone further - maybe I will get another chance this year!
"I had such a great time last year that whoever wins the package, I will wish them the best of luck... it really is the opportunity of a lifetime."