PASCO -- Amateur poker player Matt Cordray is cashing in his chips to get into a new game.
He plans to sell his Pasco business to become a full-time professional player.
For the past five years or so, Cordray and his wife Amy, have run a PostNet store, which provides postal and business services, in a strip mall next to Yoke's Fresh Market on Road 68 in Pasco.
The store is doing great, but "I'm ready to do something else," said Cordray, a 1991 Kennewick High graduate.
And his family is supportive.
"I understand (Matt's decision), I changed course several times myself," said his father Keith, who invested more than $100,000 in the business to get it started.
Cordray has been trying to sell the store. He even brought down the asking price of $170,000 to $40,000.
And now he says if the store doesn't sell by Jan. 31, he'll close it down anyway.
That will free up his time to play poker tournaments at casinos in the Tri-Cities and the Seattle area, he said.
Playing poker doesn't take a special talent to succeed, he said.
"It's not like the NBA or NFL," he said.
Lots of luck, patience and a good bankroll is what you need, he said.
Cordray, who has a degree in finance from Washington State University, said he became a poker fan in 2006 when he saw people on TV making money playing the card game.
And practice helped him become a good poker player.
"The more hands you play the better you're going to be," he said.
He said he rakes in on average up to $1,000 a month at poker tournaments. His best showing: $1,300.
Last year, he participated in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, but returned home empty-handed after shelling out the $1,500 entry fee. He placed 400th in a field of 2,700 contestants, he said.
Matt's wife, Amy, said she'll miss the store customers. But she's willing to let her husband take a shot at professional poker.
If it doesn't pan out, he'll have to find a real job.
"Two months is his limit," said Amy, who runs a Web site www.cutest-baby-shower-ideas.com and makes "enough money" through ad sales.
-- Pratik Joshi: 509-582-1541; firstname.lastname@example.org