AN ACE poker player is celebrating after taking his total career winnings past the £1 million mark.

Craig McCorkell, 26, scooped £178,000 at one of the biggest poker events earlier this month.

His third-place finish at the Pokerstars European Poker Tour in London, where he beat 125 players from 31 countries, was the third major poker achievement of his career.

His total career winnings now stand at a cool £1.08 million ($1.7 million).

Craig, who has been playing the game for around eight years, plays online poker for up to six hours a day, five days a week from his home in Sussex.

But when he’s not pitting his wits against other internet players from across the globe, he travels to the likes of Las Vegas, Australia and Europe for live tournaments.

Craig, from Haywards Heath, said: “I think this year has been my best year financially – but my most memorable achievement was winning an event at the World Series of Poker in Vegas in 2012.

“Nothing beats the feeling of winning a tournament.

“I’m obviously really pleased at finishing 3rd in London but I felt with the opponents I was up against I could have won.

“I felt a bit of pressure but I was in a good situation. I was knocked out after going all-in with a king and queen of spades. The other guy had a pair of eights and I didn’t improve.”

Craig’s success in London last week was not his single biggest win. His largest haul came in July this year when he took home £275,000 at the World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas.

He plays up to 24 games at any one time on the internet – using two computer monitors to display each table.

After completing a degree in Pharmacology, Craig admits his parents were a “bit apprehensive” at the start of his card-playing career.

He said: “But they’ve come round to it now and come with me to events sometimes.

“Poker’s image has become a lot better now.

“It used to have a lot of negative connotations but there’s a really good global community of poker players and I’ve travelled to some great places so they’re happy for me.”

Asked if he was planning to stay in Sussex now he’d passed the £1 million mark, Craig said: “I was looking at buying a place in London but I think I’ve decided to stay here instead.”