The British grandfather had never played a poker tournament with more than a £10 buy-in prior to this summer. But as a “bucket list” promise, he entered the $10,000 WSOP Main Event.
Now, the 64-year-old has one of the best chances at the $8.15 million top prize. Keep reading to see Hesp’s fascinating story.
From Caravan Firm Boss to Poker’s Main Stage
7,221 players entered the 2017 WSOP Main Event, meaning that amateurs are bound to make it far. But nobody expected Hesp – a player with just £1,700 in prior poker winnings – to make the final table.
According to The Sun, the Bridlington (East Yorks) native is a retired caravan firm boss. And he only played poker recreationally during his time running the caravan business.
“I am to poker what Donald Trump is to politics – an amateur,” he joked. “I’ve never played a big competition like this but it’s one of the things I’ve had on my bucket list for a while now.”
Vegas Trip Turns into Guaranteed $1 Million
For Hesp, this was almost an impromptu trip. Not long ago, he asked his wife if she minded him going to Vegas for the WSOP. And now it’s turned into a $1 million guaranteed payout (ninth place).
“I said to my wife about three months ago, ‘Would you mind if I went and played?’ and came with a pal of mine from Bridlington,” Hesp explained.
“This is my fourth time in Vegas, but I’ve never played in anything like this.”
What will Hesp Do with His Prize?
But whatever amount he earns, Hesp is guaranteed a windfall within the coming days.
“The money’s obviously going to be useful and I’ll probably spoil the wife and family when I get home with a treat,” he said.
“I’d like to take the wife on a holiday maybe, since she’s been kind of enough to allow me to come here.”
John Hesp has been playing poker with friends for 20 years. But he never dreamed it would come to this. Now, he has the opportunity to bring home a life-changing prize at age 64.