Ex-painter and decorator becomes poker millionaire
A FORMER Midlands decorator can now afford to really paint the town red - after becoming a poker millionaire.
Dad-of-three Julian Thew used to grind out a living with a paintbrush and also worked as a delivery driver.
But his life changed when he took a gamble by becoming a full-time poker professional - as he has now earned an astonishing £1.7 million in winnings.
Julian, 42, hopes to land another huge jackpot when the PokerStars UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) comes to his home town of Nottingham this week.
"I've done all sorts to earn a living in the past," the card player told the Sunday Mercury.
"I was a painter and decorator and even delivered exhausts for a motor parts company before eventually becoming an engineering draftsman.
''But I turned professional five years ago - and haven't worked since."
The year he turned professional Julian won a poker championship in Luton - netting £50,000. That was followed by a sixth place finish in a Masters Classics of Poker event in Amsterdam, which earned him another £40,000.
His biggest win to date saw him land a £575,000 tournament in Austria in 2007, and he is now gunning for even bigger and better things.
"My ambition had always been to earn a living at this, I was never in it for the glory," he said.
"But now the dream would be to reach the final table of a European Poker Tour event or the World Series. I want to challenge myself against the best."
Poker made national headlines last month after sexy Brit Liv Boeree landed a cool £1 million top prize at a European Poker Tour event in San Remo.
And Julian believes more of sexy poker females can go on to take titles - although he says he would NOT be distracted by their looks.
"Sitting next to a beautiful woman at the poker table wouldn't affect me, I'm in my 40s now and I've seen it all before," he laughed.
"But these young lads who've been playing online for 20 hours a day, locked up with only a laptop and an internet connection, can easily get distracted.
"Liv has a great image. There's not much that will intimidate these young rising male stars, but a really good-looking, strong, confident woman can get to them. They're not very worldly wise, so she could have a great advantage over them."
And Julian says there are plenty of world class players right here in the Midlands waiting to break through.
"The Midlands is a fantastic poker region," he said.
"In Nottingham we have the UKIPT event and over in Birmingham and Leicester there are always big tournaments going on.
It's very competitive, and I'm sure there are plenty of future champions out there."
Julian is among a host of star names playing in the UKIPT event in Nottingham. It runs at the Dusk Till Dawn casino from May 12 to 17 and has a guaranteed total prize pool of £100,000.
It will feature a range of tournaments, including a Women's Event on May 15 and a £500 entry Main Event. For more information visit www.pokerstars.com/ukipt
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