POKER ace Arshad Hussain played his cards right to scoop an amazing £340,000 in a Monte Carlo competition.
Arshad fought off 298 worldwide competitors, including three world champions, to secure second place in the tournament.
He had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the finals as part of the European Poker Tour after winning an online game against 220 players in November.
But he was pipped to the post on the final day of the Monaco competition by a 19-year-old American student who scooped the top prize of 900,000 Euros.
Arshad, 32, of Bentcliffe Gardens, Accrington, who is married to Safina and has two children, Kiren, seven, and Iram, two, said: "I still can't believe I've won. It's not hit me yet.
"We are on the verge of buying a new home and I rang the mortgage adviser today to say I won't be needing the mortgage now because we can afford to buy it outright.
"I'd seen all the top players on television and the next thing I was sitting next to them. I wasn't really nervous, it was such a massive competition. But I feel I have earned the money. I must have some kind of skill."
Arshad's winning streak started over three years ago when he started playing poker on his laptop at home for five hours a day. He was rewarded with a £43,000 win last May.
He said: "I don't see poker as gambling, I see it as a sport. I've never lost any money. I put small sums in initially and now I've won this huge amount in a competition that I didn't have to pay to enter, or pay for the hotel or travel.
"In Monte Carlo I played for four days and when it was down to the last eight players we played for 46 hours. We lived poker. We played, went to sleep, then played again."
Now ranked fourth in Europe, Ashad, who works in the family cushion business, Foam and Fibre on Horne Street, Accrington, added: "I would love to travel all over the world. Now I'm playing a lot more games the sky's the limit. My wife is delighted but my children are too young to understand what's happening."
Arshad plays cricket for Church and hopes his new-found success won't affect his form in the coming season.
He added: "I don't want to have to leave Accrington or my family. I love living here. I'm just glad that in the future I won't have to worry about money and will be able to put some money aside for my girls."