A STUDENT has funded his way through university in Scotland by winning £80,000 at poker.
Maths undergraduate Anmol Srivats has put his exceptional numeracy skills to work online and at tournaments during the past four years at St Andrews.
And while the average Scottish student emerges with debts in the region of £10,000, Anmol, 22, has earned an average of £20,000 a year.
The final year student from Bangalore, India, won £50,000 in his first year and banked almost £6,000 in a single hand.
The student started his poker career aged 15 after being given the equivalent of £8 by his dad.
He then won £240 in an online tournament – kickstarting his earning spree.
He said: “I cover my living expenses each year, but I know it’s possible to lose money very quickly, and I don’t spend lots of money on flashy things.
“It’s about making my life a little better – I sometimes eat at restaurants instead of eating halls food, or take taxis instead of walking.”
Talking about his biggest wins, Anmol said: “I once won £5,700 in one hand, when I had a pair of aces and went all in with two other plays. I also won $20,000 (£16,000) in an online tournament as well.”
Anmol also feels that his poker benefits his degree.
He said: “My poker benefits my maths rather than the other way round, I think the same skills that make me good at poker make me good at maths.
“I’m planning to work as a trader after finishing university, it’s a natural transition, and I think there are a lot of similarities between it and poker.
“They want people who think mathematically under pressure – in fact a lot of the interviewers for the jobs I’m applying for play poker and I do put it on my CV.”
Anmol still has a way to go to match the earnings of the world’s top poker players.
Canadian six-time World Series of Poker winner Daniel Negreanu has pocketed $32 million (£26 million) in prize money since starting his career in the mid-1990s.
Anmols plays around 20 hours a week during term time, but ramps this up on vacation.
He said: “I play twice a week during the week usually, for fours each session. Then I play eight hours on a Sunday.
“It can sometimes be hard to maintain other things, I try to do something non-poker related every day – apart from Sunday.
“On vacation I play for most of my waking hours. I actually broke my previous laptop because I was playing in the bathtub.”
The international student tuition fees Anmol pays are around £16,000 and his accomodation fees are around £6,000.
Speaking about his plans post-graduation, he said: “I’m planning on moving to London to work in trading. It’s hard to say when I will stop poker, I’m likely to stop sometime between the next two months and 50 years.”