A LITTLE white lie has landed a Huddersfield man a dream trip to Las Vegas.
Father of three Jack Somal, will fly out to the gambling capital of the world in May to take part in the finals of a major poker tournament.
And that’s a dream come true for the Brackenhall barman, who had walked into a Huddersfield pub a little over two years ago as a poker “virgin”.
“I had gone to The Spinks Nest in Birkby for a drink with a friend and noticed they had some sort of casino set up.
“I asked the manager what it was about and he asked me if I played. I told a little lie and said I could, and he invited me to join in.
“I sat down and had total beginners’ luck, which saw me win that night and get hooked on the game.”
Jack, 36, joined the regular weekly poker matches at the pub which were part of the nationwide Redtooth League.
Players play for points rather than pounds and each week, Jack’s reputation grew.
“We play a league tournament over 13 weeks and at the end of that, the top players get the chance to play in the regional finals.
“I won our league and went to the Grosvenor Casino in Leeds to play against people from places such as York, Scarborough and Hull.
“There were 200 taking part and I managed to win that, to be told the prize was a week-long trip to Las Vegas.
“My wife Palvinder and I fly out on May 28 for a week and I get the chance to play poker in a Las Vegas casino against people from all over the world.
“It’s unbelievable. But I must confess I’m hooked on the game now and my dream is to be able to play poker professionally, on the TV.”
Jack, of Brackenhall, who works at a bar in Wakefield, doesn’t know how he has managed to be a winner.
“That very first time I sat and watched other people playing the game I quickly picked it up.
“I’m just so glad I said I’d give it a go.”
POKER star Jack Somal plays a game called Texas Hold ‘Em.
Each player is dealt two private cards face down – called hole cards or pocket cards.
Then there is a round of betting, the preflop betting round. Like most games of poker, players can call, raise, or fold.
After the betting round ends, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called a burn card. This is done to prevent cheating.
The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table – the flop.
These are communal cards that anyone can use in combination with their two pocket cards to form a poker hand.
After the betting concludes, the dealer burns again then flips another communal card onto the table. This is called the turn.
More betting is followed by the dealer again burning a card and placing a final card face up on the table. This is called the river. Players can now use any of the five cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a five card poker hand.
Players who have not folded reveal their hands, beginning with the player to the left of the last player to call. Players use a combination of their pocket cards and the community cards to form a five card poker hand.
The player who shows the best hand wins.