Amateur poker player wins £2m in worldwide contest

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A grandfather from Hull has walked away with £2 million after holding his own at an international poker tournament in Las Vegas.

John Hesp, 64, of Bridlington, an amateur player who had previously never staked more than £10 in games at his regular seaside casino, came fourth out of 7,000 competitors, including professionals, at the World Series of Poker.

The former caravan salesman said he would be treating his family to a break with his winnings. “First of all I’d like to spoil the family a bit. My wife isn’t that bothered about going away on holiday but we’re quite happy to go to our humble, static caravan in the Yorkshire Dales at Pateley Bridge.”

Mr Hesp said he had raised £10,000 to enter the competition to tick it off his “bucket list”.

The grandfather of seven added: “I’m to poker what Donald Trump is to politics – an amateur. 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.”

He told PokerNews: “I’ve absolutely loved it, I’ve lived the dream. I just hope I’ve spread a little light, happiness and fun in the game. I’ve been told there’s a lot of people watching it who have never watched it before, so it’s got to be good for TV ratings.

“I won’t be turning into a professional poker player. I want to stay an amateur, stay having fun and enjoying tournaments and competitions.”

Mr Hesp’s victory was the second-biggest cash win ever by a British player, according to Remko Rinkema, a poker journalist.

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Johnnie Moore

Poker player extraordinaire from the sunny state of Cali. When I'm not hitting the tables in the casino or driving my sports cars in the desert, you'll find me walking my dogs in the mountains. Be the best, live the best.