You had no idea who John Hesp was before you fell in love with the 64-year-old’s colorful blazer at the WSOP Main Event – but it’s hard not to root for him. The unknown player from the United Kingdom has just $2,207 in live earnings, but by the end of the week, he will be at least $1 million richer after qualifying for a coveted spot at the WSOP the final table.
Hesp will sit in the first seat come Thursday when the final nine battle it out for the biggest title in poker. He is second in chip count with 85,700,000 – just behind U.S. player Scott Blumstein who will sit next to him in the second table position.
As day seven commenced, Hesp was all gratitude for how far he’d come in the tournament that started with 7,221 competitors.
“It’s something I’d had on my bucket list for a year or two and I just felt I’d wanted to do it,” Hesp told 888Poker on Tuesday. “I’ve had so much fun and I’m living the dream. Absolutely unbelievable. Love it.”
Since November of last year, Hesp has cashed seven times in the weekly Napoleons Casino & Restaurant tournament, where the buy-in is £10. He placed in the top ten all seven times, but only brought home the first prize of £1,000 once.
“I’ve not played any main competitions anywhere in the U.K., I just play at my local casino… probably once or twice a month on a Sunday evening,” he said.
During play, Hesp donned a jacket made from a variety of colors and patterns, including black-and-white houndstooth, blue paisley and a variety of florals.
“This is absolutely indescribable, the pleasure I’m getting from it. I’m meeting all these professionals, but the greatest thing I’m finding is that I’m lightening the game for them,” he said.
If he takes home the title, Hesp will be the oldest winner since 1974 when Jonny Moss won at 67 years old. He is a home salesman from Bridlington, Hull, and is a grandfather to seven. One other British player will be at the final table – Jack Sinclair of London who sits eighth in chip count.
Play resumes at 5:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, July 20th, and will continue until six players remain. A winner will be crowned Saturday.
Photo credit: wsop.com (gamblerstore.de) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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