Professional poker player Marcus Bebb-Jones got away with murder for 16 years – and then his luck ran out.

Back in 1997, he claimed his 31-year-old wife Sabrina walked out on him after they argued dur­ing a trip into the wilderness.

Cops didn’t buy his story. But they had no idea where Sabrina’s body was located and couldn’t charge Bebb-Jones with murder. Then someone stumbled across his wife’s skull, and the card-playing killer was eventually forced to show his hand.

“Right from day one, we figured he’d killed Sabrina, but without a body, we could never prove it,” Bill Middleton, a commander with the Garfield County Sheriff ’s Department in Col­orado, told The ENQUIRER.

“I’m sure he thought he’d gotten away with murder.”

Bebb-Jones and Sabrina, who married in 1993, owned a hotel in Grand Junction, Colo. But by 1997, a fed up Sabrina was threatening to divorce Bebb- Jones over his flirting with female guests.

Determined not to fork over Sabrina’s $130,000 share of the hotel, Bebb-Jones hatched an evil plot to kill her.

That September, he convinced Sabrina to visit the remote Dinosaur National Monu­ment on the Colorado-Utah border with him. But Bebb- Jones returned alone and immediately went on a wild three-day spending spree in Las Vegas.

Using his wife’s credit cards, he blew thousands on drugs, designer clothes, renting a Ferrari, partying with strippers and gam­bling.

After he blew all his cash and maxed out Sabrina’s credit cards, he penned a suicide note to his “missing” wife, saying he couldn’t live without her. Then Bebb-Jones stuck a .32-caliber gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. But cops say it was all a ruse as he pointed the gun at his left cheek, knowing he’d survive the bul­let passing through soft flesh.

Two years later, Bebb-Jones returned to his native England where he competed on the British poker circuit, once winning about $140,000 in a Texas Hold’em tour­nament.

“He continued to live the good life and thumbed his nose at my family,” said Sabrina’s brother, Robert Dang. “He thought he’d committed the perfect crime.”

BUT in 2004, a rancher found a skull in a remote meadow in Garfield County. Cops used dental records to identify it as Sabrina’s and built a case against Bebb-Jones.

Authorities charged him with first-degree murder, and British po­lice arrested him in 2009. He fought extradition but lost his final appeal in February 2011 and was brought back to the U.S. in handcuffs.

After continuing to proclaim his innocence, Bebb-Jones finally decided to strike a deal with pros­ecutors. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 20-year sentence.

But the scheming wife-killer could be freed as early as 2019, and that’s out­raged his victim’s family.

“They feel he should spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Commander Middleton.