IT’S a dilemma thousands of students face upon leaving university every year – how to get a job.
But when Rupert Elder failed to find work after leaving Warwick University with a degree in economics, he decided to throw his money on the table and take a gamble that has paid off in a big way.
The former Thurston Community College student has been celebrating a massive victory in a PokerStars.com European Poker Tour event in San Remo, Italy, pocketing a winning prize of 1.4 million dollars (£828,000).
“It was an awesome experience in San Remo,” he said. “I’m really happy with how I played.”
Elder, who has lived in Bradfield St Clare his whole life but is about to relocate to London, began playing with friends while at Thurston Community College, including James Keys – who also pocketed a large prize this year when finishing second in the prestigious Aussie Millions.
Keys won more than one million Australian dollars (approx £680,000) at that event, but his success has been put into the shade by friend Elder, who is now targeting a World Series of Poker bracelet.
“I have been playing since I was in sixth form and starting playing full-time after I graduated from university two years ago,” said 24-year-old Elder. “I have put a lot of time and effort into trying to get better.
“After I left university, I was playing a lot of poker and applying for jobs, but I didn’t get one so decided I would concentrate on poker.
“The main problem with that was I did not spend enough time on my degree because I was playing poker.”
After ditching the working world to have a go at a successful poker career, Elder is thankful to his strong family unit that backed his decision.
“My parents have always been supportive, which has allowed me to turn full-time,” he said.
And Elder has not gone on a huge spending spree with his winnings, choosing instead to treat himself to some new clothes and save his cash to buy into other events – including World Series competitions in Las Vegas.
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