Poker-playing chef turns £70 into £35,000 windfall

Hemel Hempstead resident Daniel McNairney, who won �35,000 at the partypoker Grand Prix Poker Tour event

Hemel Hempstead resident Daniel McNairney, who won �35,000 at the partypoker Grand Prix Poker Tour event

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A poker-playing chef from Hemel Hempstead was over the moon after he scooped a £35,000 prize in a major poker tournament.

Daniel McNairney, 36, won the partypoker Grand Prix Poker Tour event at Old Trafford - the home of his beloved Manchester United - and beat a field of nearly 4,000 players to lift the title.

But bizarrely, Daniel played much of the tournament wearing an Iron Man Mask and ski goggles to make sure his opponents could not get any giveaway signs from his facial features.

Daniel, who lives with wife Alison and their children Lily-May, two, and three-month old twins Cody and Kye, says he was worried about showing he had a good hand as he took part in the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, which cost a low-level £70 to buy-in.

The father-of-three said: “I was talking to my boss before the event and joked that I didn’t want to show any emotion while playing.

“Next minute he has brought me in an Iron Man Mask and ski goggles. Together with my Manchester United scarf I was pretty well covered.

“It must have done the trick - as I won the tournament and also racked up my biggest win since I started playing poker a few years ago.”

Daniel was absolutely delighted with his success.

“It was an extremely tough tournament to win - because I was up against so many players with a lot of quality in the field.

“But I couldn’t be happier taking the trophy at Old Trafford as I am a massive Manchester United fan.”

The partypoker Grand Prix Poker Tour kicked-off at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and moved on to Old Trafford last weekend.

Now Daniel is hoping to make it a win-double when he heads off to the next leg being held at Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park over the weekend of February 20 and 21.

Tom Waters, boss of partypoker, said “The partypoker Grand Prix Poker Tour at Old Trafford received a staggering total of 3,646 entries.

“It was fantastic to see Daniel turn his £70 into £35,000.

“This is what the tour is about, giving players the chance to travel to their favourite UK football stadiums and play poker for small buy-ins and huge payouts.

“Daniel played fantastic to poker and was unlucky not to have gone all the way. “Now we look forward to seeing him and thousands more poker fans at our next Grand Prix Poker Tour tournament at St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United, on February 20.”