A PROFESSIONAL poker player from Swindon kept his cool under pressure to win the whopping £121,000 top prize at an international tournament.

And James Williams bagged a trip to next year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas after triumphing against some of the best players in the world.

He played the main event of the 888poker Live London Festival, a Texas Hold' Em tournament in a casino with 656 players, who were whittled down as the hours ticked by over the course of three days.

James, 32, said: “It is an amazing feeling to have won. I’d been playing so long and I’d been trying to win a major live title for a while in my poker career, so for it to finally happen didn’t feel real.

“There’s a lot of pressure with the cameras on you, if you make a mistake or a bad play everyone can see it, but I try to block it all out and pretend it’s not there.

“I’m going to treat my family to some great Christmas presents and spoil my son as well.”

James has played poker professionally for 10 years and won more than £400,000.

He added: “People think poker is a game of luck, which is true to an extent but if you can work out what somebody has in their hand without seeing their cards it becomes more skill-based.

“There is always luck involved and that is what makes the game so much fun. I do a lot of studying of poker online there are training sites out there which people can use.

“I play a lot online and the more you play the more experience you get. If you can start to piece together what somebody is thinking it gives you a great chance of working out which cards they’re holding."

Watch the moment James won:

He narrowly avoided coming third-place after a “relentless” round against Antoine Labat which saw a battle of bluffs which ended with James going all in and Antoine folding.

With a king and a four in the final round against Derek Lawless, James felt he had a strong hand, so when Derek bet he called but didn’t raise. When all the cards were on the table, James’ hand wasn’t as strong and Derek went all in, putting him in a tough spot.

After much thought, James decided his opponent was bluffing and called it - his gamble paid off and he won with two pairs.

His friend Aleem Kanji, also from Swindon, finished sixth in the competition and took home £25,000, his biggest ever live payday. The pair first met while playing the card game in a pub 13 years ago and travel to major tournaments regularly.