WSOP 2017

John Hesp, the WSOP 2017 fan favourite, managed to take home more than $2.6 million. Despite finishing in the 4th position, there are many other things that he’ll be remembered for! Read on to discover what great fete he did that will put him the WSOP record books!


  • John Hesp, an armature poker player, left his Yorkshire home for Las Vegas for the first time in his life
  • He registered as an inexperienced armature player, who spends not more than €10 each week playing poker. He eventually finished in the fourth position
  • Hesp said at the end of the tournament that the series has been on his bucket list and his only hope was to make a couple thousands while playing the game.


The past few weeks after the WSOP 2017 event have been nothing short of bonkers for John Hesp, a WSOP finalist, and his wife Mandy.

Early in June, John Hesp, a professional caravan seller, left his Yorkshire home for Las Vegas to try his luck playing the prestigious WSOP event. This premier event, which costs $10,000 to register, and offers the winner millions in returns, attracts the crop top of the world’s professional and armature poker players alike.

And this year, Hesp, an in experienced armature who only spends €10 playing poker at the Napoleon Casino in Hull, decided he could try and see if he’d take the event off his bucket list by registering as one of the players. 

According to one of his close mate, John Hesp hardly won anything and doesn’t have the poker face needed in the big stage. So what gave him the notion that he was fit enough to play at the big table with the big boys?

It was a must try event & Mandy was okay with it

“It was always on my bucket list and I had to make sure that I lived the moment,’ he said. ‘ I had always wanted to be part of the crowd and Mandy was okay with me paying the entry fee. I always thought I’d make it to the final thousand.’

He however outperformed his target. Soon, he managed to make it to the last 500, then 200, then 27. His return flight came and went – without him in it. He had never dared think that he would make it to the final week. ‘It was unbelievable! I had made it to the final week, living the dream.’

On and on, Hesp continued playing poker, spending up to 12 hours a day at the tables, surviving on water and bananas in the 20 minute comfort breaks. ‘Looking back, I had no idea how many bananas I ate, but it must have been an awful a lot!’ he said.

But what remarkable feature did John Hesp accomplish at the event?

Welcome to the John Hesp Show – The armature brings some humour and fun to the game

The WSOP 2017 suddenly turned into the John Hesp show. Taking the spotlight his humor, style, personality and least expected run made Hesp the fan favourite. His craftiness and sense of humour could perhaps be attributed to his great success, where he went into the final table as second in command in terms of number of chips.

After making it all the way to the final table, bagging chips and completing the ESPN interview, the 64 years old grandfather and father of four was astonished on how much he had accomplished at the tournament. ‘I have used every adjective I know in the book, it’s crazy – it’s spooky,’ he said as he spoke to the ESPN interview.

Throughout the WSOP 2017 tournament, he was the talkative guy at his table, occasionally showing his winning cards. As he progressed further into the tournament, he started seeing socializing with other players as a good way to add some entertainment and fun to the game.

The unusual story in WSOP event

Hesp is an unusual story. Right from the beginning, his poker clothes, a sports like jacket and his multi-coloured shirts, which was loaned to him by Dave, made him a unique player among the professionals who wore hoodies and T-shirts.

‘My main aim was to brighten things up. Make the game more fun,’ he said. And certainly, his unique sense of fashion became his lucky charm and made for some interesting comments from some of the poker fans, players and event organizers

John Hesp

John Hesp

‘It’s really interesting to see how poker as a game has evolved overtime.’ WSOP tournament director said. ‘For a long time, it was all sunglasses and hoodies with players having long stares and stalling the hands that they played.’

‘And this year, outside of few outstanding things, we have recorded so many players who wanted to play poker, witnessed so many of them being respectful, and others wanting to have a cocktail at the table. It’s been so much fun as compared to the other years.’

Even poker legend Phil Hellmuth seems to agree that the WSOP tournament needs more Hesps in future. Through his twitter account, he seemed to be more fascinated by Hesp’s hat, which he had earlier on referred to as his lucky charm.

I hope my personality will bring some light and fun to this game

‘The days have been interesting for a couple of few days,’ said Hesp. ‘I had a ball though. And just three days ago, I Googled my name and it was unbelievable. Prior to Googling, would be ranked down the results. It was only then when I started appreciating the international interest in me.’

The Yorkshire resident was interviewed by a Chinese news company and was told that the interview would reach out to at least 1 billion people. In his response he said, ‘Who knows? They may also decide to come on board!’

At the end of the WSOP 2017 tournament, Hesp had won an astonishing $2.6 million, but insisted, just like the winner, that it wasn’t going to change much of his life.

‘The winnings are nice, but they are only secondary,’ he said.

‘Before participating in the WSOP 2017 tournament, I wasn’t a multi-millionaire in any form or shape but you need not have plenty of money to be rich in life. Before I came here, I was rich in life, and I am richer now, even without the money.’

There is no doubt that the John Hesp name will not be forgotten quickly at the WSOP.

‘I’m hoping my personality – if you wish to call it that – will bring some light and fun to this game,’ he said!