A BRADFORD man’s trip of a lifetime could have ended in disaster last week when he was caught up in the major earthquake which shook the USA’s west coast.

Former Beckfoot Thornton student Atish Mistry, 30, was at the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, after winning a competition with 888 Poker.

The investment banker, now based in London, was playing alongside thousands of other poker players when the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area last Friday.

During play, chandeliers, metal light rigging and huge televisions began to shake and sway.

Mr Mistry said the experience was scary.

He said: “We were sitting at the poker table when the room was packed with hundreds of players when everything began to shake.

“There was a loud bang and everyone started running out of the room.

“I looked up and saw the heavy metal light riggings were beginning to shake. I thought we had better get out of here.

“I just left my chips on the table – like everyone else. I took the things I had with me and headed for the exit. I just managed to grab my phone!”

Mr Mistry made it through to the second day of the tournament, which has a top prize of $10 million and a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, and is due to finish next Tuesday.

He won a seat at the table for the competition for just £85 after winning an online competition, while most of his competitors had had to stump up the $10,000 buy-in to take part.

His prize also included flights and accommodation from 888 Poker, and his seat in Vegas is a long way from where he first started playing the game, with friends while he studied economics at the University of Warwick 11 years ago.

He added: “I love the challenge and the strategy, and I like to think I had a natural ability for the game.

“With my background in maths it also helped me with working out all the odds and percentages while playing the various hands.

“I love to sit there working out the body language of my opponents.

“Are they trying to bluff me or have they got the absolute nuts and am I thinking about making the call with the worst hand?

“This trip has been fantastic. I was part of the 888 Poker Squad and we had a coaching session with Scott Blumstein, who won the Main Event two years ago, for $8.1million.”

The earthquake was the second major tremor to hit the area in three days last week, and could be felt up to 350 miles away from the epicentre.