John Hesp Goes From Poker Famous To Hollywood Famous

1 year ago
John Hesp Goes From Poker Famous To Hollywood Famous
15:02
03 Jul

John Hesp was just having a laugh on holiday when he ended up at the FT of the biggest poker tournament in the world. Now Hollywood’s looking to tell his story.

Once a year, John Hesp would go to a casino and gamble a tenner. In the odd home game he attended, he was known as a doner. He was 65 years old, working as a caravan salesman and drawing his state pension last year when he went to Vegas, bought into the Main Event for $10,000 and started playing poker against a field of 7,221.

He survived the first few days, made the money, and kept going. He missed his return flight, figuring he’d rebook with some of the prize money. The field got smaller and smaller. 

In the end this little old Yorkshireman, a total amateur, with a patchwork jacket and a wardrobe full of shirts spliced together from 1970s disco-print fabrics, this perfect blend of everyman and British eccentric came in fourth for $2.6 million.

He went home, toasted his success with a battered cod at his son’s chippy and Bacardi and coke in place of the traditional Champagne.

The story writes itself, doesn’t it?


So, of course, Hollywood has come knocking, with producer Marc Ambrose producing – who has a mix of interesting documentaries (Bhutto and the EMMY nominated The Beatles - Eight Days A week) to his credit –  with Niall Perrett and Richard Shepherd who are working on the second movie on Mary Magdalene in two years are slated to write.

"I got contacted by two or three producers when I was out in Vegas, including some Hollywood names, but I elected to go with a UK based company,” Hesp told the Hull Daily Mail.

We can probably expect this to be part of a wave of true-life poker movies off the back of Molly’s Game’s critical success.

Though if you’re more of a bookworm, Judy Broadbent is working away a biography of Hesp in parallel. All he needs now is a rap-musical.

John Hesp returns to the WSOP action for Tuesday’s Day 1 flight.


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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more

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