Michael Zhang of Bramcote converted a satellite buy-in of £11 into £26,500 at a poker tournament held in Bristol this month.

Twenty-year-old Zhang, a former student of Nottingham High School, had qualified for this tournament, a UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) event, in Bristol. He finished in the third position and returned home with a prize of £26,500.

Zhang is currently a student of mathematics at the University of Birmingham.

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He qualified for the above-mentioned tournament by taking part in a qualifier with a buy-in of £11. The tournament was played at Bristol’s Rainbow Casino last weekend.

At the end of Day One, Zhang hardly had any chips in his stack, but he soon became the chip leader and the finalist. Later, he said: “This is the biggest win of my career so far. I’m going to use the money to be able to play more competitions for higher stakes, both live and online. I was going to enter the competition anyway, but thought I’d flick into a satellite competition and qualify that way. This is my fourth UKIPT event but I’ve never cashed before so it was pretty good.”

Zhang started playing poker when he was in high school and slowly graduated to live and online poker tournaments. He is of the opinion that Nottingham is a great place to learn the game because casinos in Nottingham run several poker tournaments. He used to take part in the month Six-Max tournament held at Dawn Till Dusk and even won many of them.

Saying that he would like to improve his game, he said that he likes poker as it is “about guessing better than other people and making sure you are in a profitable position.” He also said that he does not enter a tournament unless he is sure about his ability to perform well.

Brandon Sheils, Zhang’s 20-year-old friend, says that several friends in their circle have won at poker tournaments. Richard, Sheil’s brother, had won a prize of £27,000 in a deepstack tournament held at Dusk Till Dawn. A semi-professional player who resides in Birmingham, Brandon said that Zhang has become more focused about his game and has been playing a lot of online poker, which enables a player to play several hands at the same time.

Another friend, 23-year-old Jason Vu Nguyen who resides in Buckinghamshire, said that it is nice to see a friend winning a five-figure prize.

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