British Amateur John Hesp Lights Up WSOP Main Event Finale

July 21st, 2017 | by Kaycee James

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is just a few bets away from crowning a new champion, but British amateur John Hesp has already made himself the people’s champion.

John Hesp WSOP.

British amateur John Hesp smiles for the cameras next to commentator Kara Scott at the WSOP finale on Thursday. (Image: 888poker/WSOP)

When the leading poker tournament in the world draws to a close, there’s always a player or two who catches the public’s imagination and this year it’s Hesp. Hailed a breath of fresh air by many, Hesp started the final table with the second largest chips stack, but by far the most support of any player left in the mix.

Hesp Playing Up to the Crowd

Since making it deep in the Main Event, Hesp has gradually won over more fans thanks to his relaxed attitude and quirky sense of style. Unlike pros such as Antoine Saout and Ben Lamb, Hesp is more familiar with £10 ($13) tournaments back home in Hull, England.

A recreational player by his own admission, Hesp said that playing in the WSOP Main Event has been on his bucket list for the last few years.

Now a semi-retired businessman, Hesp bought into the Main Event of his own accord and is now guaranteed at least $1,425,000 following the open session on July 20.

Despite being a relative novice compared to his fellow final tablists, Hesp came out of the gate swinging in the first hand of this year’s finale. After raising from the cut-off, Hesp called Saout’s three-bet in position and proceeded to bluff raise on the flop to take down the first pot.

From there, he continued to press the action and play up to the crowd until he found himself all-in and in trouble against Scott Blumstein. Following a flurry of bets and raises on an A♣ 7♦ 5♥ 10♠ board, Blumstein was all-in with a set of aces against Hesp’s top two pair.

By the time the 3♣ fell on the river, Hesp was down to just 18 big blinds while his opponent raked in almost 50 percent of the chops in play. When the session was over, Hesp found himself fourth out of six, but still the crowd favorite.

A Moneymaker-Style Story

Although his story won’t be quite as romantic as the one Chris Moneymaker wrote back in 2002, it will be positive for poker. Aside from being a jovial personality at the felt, an amateur like Hesp winning the WSOP Main Event would inspire more casual players to ante-up.

Judging by the reactions from some of the game’s established pros, Hesp certainly would be good for the game. After Andrew Booth wrote on his Facebook page that Hesp is the “best thing to come into poker for years,” the likes of Will Kassouf, Jeff Kimber and Richard James Trigg all commented in agreement.

Win or lose, Hesp has made an impression on the poker community and potentially casual poker players around the world this year’s WSOP Main Event.


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