Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by ED GLEAVE ed­ward.gleave@dai­lystar.co.uk

WORK­ERS sneak­ing home early to en­joy the sum­mer heat­wave cost the econ­omy a scorch­ing £10.8bil­lion – £334.90 for each em­ployee.

A BRIT poker cham­pion has bluffed his way to a for­tune.

Sam Trick­ett, 32, has been play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally for 12 years and he’s so good he gets to live like a rock star.

He said: “I’ve won £15mil­lion in tour­na­ments and a lot more in cash games. The most I’ve won in a day is about £7.6m.

“I’ve lost £1m in a day a few times. If I thought I was go­ing to lose more than that I’d feel un­easy. So when that hap­pens I tend to quit so I don’t lose more.”

Poker fol­low­ers es­ti­mate he has so far won £30mil­lion.

Sam said: “This job means I get to spend a lot of money. I’ve got four prop­er­ties in­clud­ing my home in Ibiza.

“And I have spent a lot on cars over the years. My Fer­rari was cus­tom-made and cost me £275,000. My Range Rover cost £90,000. “And I have an­other one that cost £120,000.”

Sam started gam­bling when he was 14, play­ing pool in pubs.

By 18 he had started play­ing poker for £5 wins. Two years later he turned pro­fes­sional.

Sam said: “I was work­ing as a scaf­folder at the time and it was dif­fi­cult to fit in poker.

“Even­tu­ally I quit work and started play­ing poker as my job.

“My dad was re­ally anti-gam­bling at the time. I went broke a cou­ple of times and my bank man­ager sat me down and told me to stop. It was hard be­cause I knew they’d be right in other sit­u­a­tions.”

He added: “But I could see there was money to be made be­cause poker is a skill game.

“I knew in the long run I’d end up

with money. I had to go against what ev­ery­one said, which did upset my fam­ily. It took a while be­fore they un­der­stood.”

Sam has played all over the world and his next event is Par­tyPoker Live Mil­lions UK in Not­ting­ham.

Sam said: “I don’t seem to get ner­vous even when there are mil­lions on the line. I’ve trained my­self to be like that be­cause you have to be cool when play­ing.

“There are down­sides to all of this. When you make a lot of money you get peo­ple try­ing to latch on to you. You don’t know who is gen­uine.

“Peo­ple of­ten have an agenda to try to get some­thing from you. And it can be dif­fi­cult to main­tain friend­ships when I’m trav­el­ling so much. It ru­ined one of my re­la­tion­ships. When you are play­ing it takes all your fo­cus.”

These days Sam is still flush, but not so flash.

He said: “I’m mar­ried now too, which means I’m con­tent. I guess I still don’t re­spect money as much as I should. I’m a sucker when it comes to ma­te­rial things.”

Par­tyPoker Live Mil­lions UK kicks off in Not­ting­ham on Septem­ber 29. De­tails at par­typoker.com.

■FAST LANE: Sam in his £275,000 Fer­rari ■FLUSH: Sam owns house in Ibiza, left, and en­joys lav­ish hol­i­days, above, with his wife Mieke

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