John Hesp from Bridlington wins £2m in world poker contest

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Media caption,

John Hesp: "I've been living the dream, I've loved every minute of it"

A grandad from East Yorkshire has won $2.6m (£2m) by finishing fourth in the world's most prestigious poker tournament.

John Hesp, 64, of Bridlington, made it to the final table of the main event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

The grandfather of seven swapped his local casino in Hull for Las Vegas to take part in the 7,221-player contest.

Mr Hesp's progress captivated the poker world, with many of the game's biggest names rooting for him to win.

The semi-retired businessman, who paid $10,000 (£7,000) to enter the tournament, won admirers for his colourful dress sense and cheerful demeanour at the table.

Image source, World Series of Poker
Image caption,
Mr Hesp runs a caravan centre in Bridlington
Image source, Jamie Thomson/WSOP
Image caption,
Mr Hesp made it to the final table, narrowly missing out on the top three

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "It's been quite awesome, I've been living the dream, I've loved every minute of it and I've had so much fun and entertainment.

"I've wanted to do this tournament for a couple of years now, it was one of the things on my bucket list."

The final at the Rio casino is due to conclude on Saturday, with the winner earning $8,150,000 (£6.3m).

Mr Hesp, who said he wasn't going to turn professional, continued: "I got in the top 500, then 100, then 50 and so on and it got to the point where it was indescribable, nobody could believe I could do it as an amateur.

"As I dropped below 100 it seemed quite a number of the world's media got on board and started to want to talk to me."

Image source, Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Image caption,
The main event is the finale of the WSOP's yearly poker extravaganza

The amateur, who runs a caravan centre in Bridlington, said: "I've just wanted to play some poker with some professionals.

"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."

Professional poker player Danielle Anderson tweeted: "What a pleasure it was to see John Hesp bring fun back to poker's biggest stage. Hope players follow his example. Let's grow the game."

Poker journalist Remko Rinkema posted: "John Hesp's 4th-place for $2.6 million is the second biggest cash ever by a British player."

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