Amateur poker playing grandfather set for $1 million prize

'The most surreal experience of my life'


John Hesp

A Bridlington grandfather who entered an international poker competition for fun is set to win at least $1 million.

John Hesp, 64, had never before played a tournament with a buy-in larger than £10, and only plays around once a month.

See also: Man enters poker tournament by mistake - and wins

See also: Expert explains how to count cards

But as part of his bucket list, he decided to fork out the $10,000 fee to enter the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas - and is turning into a superstar.

The World Series of Poker is a series of tournaments held annually in Las Vegas. Sponsored by Caesars Entertainment Corporation, it generally attracts the top professionals.

But after amassing 85 million chips - the second-biggest chip stack - the semi-retired caravan salesman has beaten off competition from more than 7,200 other players to make it through to the final game.

If he beats all the other 26 players, he's set to take home $8 million, and even if he loses he'll net $1 million.

Until now, Mr Hesp's biggest win has been £785 from his local casino, Napoleon's Casino & Restaurant in Hull.

"I am having the most surreal experience of my life," he writes on Facebook.

"It would appear that I've become an international Poker superstar as people from all around the world are wanting to connect with me."

He adds: "This is something I'd quite wanted to do for a while now and when I started just hoped I could make it into the top 1,000."

Quite apart from his extraordinary success, Mr Hesp has become known for his over-the-top outfits, wearing a multi-patterned jacket, bright shirts and a Panama hat.

"This shirt and this jacket and two other shirts, which are back in the hotel being laundered as we speak, were loaned to me by a good friend who lives back home in Bridlington," he tells Poker News.

"I commented on how much I liked his shirts the last time we were here in Vegas and he offered to loan them to me for the trip this time. They so far have brought me very good luck."

There's one other Brit in the final, Jack Sinclair, a 26-year-old online playing professional, who's currently standing eighth in the competition.

The final game will end on Saturday.

Biggest UK lottery winners

Biggest UK lottery winners