Everyone loves a rags to riches story, and I can’t think of anything more appropriate for that title right now than the success of Yorkshireman John Hesp at last year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP). All poker fans will be familiar with this series of poker tournaments dating back to 1970, with generous prize money and helping to bring public awareness to many of the current big names in the poker world.
Hesp was typically a £10 stake poker player at his local Hull, UK casino, nothing serious. He didn’t have money to burn. Nevertheless John had a lifelong dream of playing in the World Series of Poker and so scrimped and saved until he’d amassed the $10,000 entry fee. He then headed to Vegas to take on 7220 other poker players. What happened yet took the poker world by storm and captured the imagination of poker players around the world.
With his flamboyant dress sense and happy-go-luck ways, Hesp gained fans aplenty as he progressed through the tournament. And progress through the tournament he did! First John made it to the final 500, then 100, and against all odds eventually the final table. Media fascination with his story increased by the day and he found himself sitting at a table where the winner was set to win an astonishing $8,150,000. As it happens John Hesp eventually finished in 4th place winning $2.6 million. The second biggest win ever by a British player.
John has continued with life as usual after his huge win, taking part in only a handful of poker tournaments since. Regardless of how his future poker career goes, one win will likely always stand out for him.