AMATEUR poker player John Hesp is planning to celebrate his £2m victory in Las Vegas with a holiday at his caravan on a park in North Yorkshire.
The larger-than-life caravan-selling business boss from Bridlington crashed out of the World Series of Poker Main Event, in fourth place on Saturday, out of a field of 7,221, but takes home $2.6m (£2m).
Mr Hesp, 64, a previously unknown outsider, more used to playing for £50 at a casino in Hull, said he has ambitions of bringing a major poker tournament to his home town to revive the fortunes of the seaside resort and put Bridlington back on the map.
Yesterday Mayor of Bridlington Cyril Marsburg welcomed the idea - and said he was going to discuss hosting a welcome party for Mr Hesp’s return.
“We have snooker and darts already - I think it would be a great idea to bring it to the Spa,” he added.
Mr Hesp - whose eycatching good-luck shirts, jacket and Havana-style hat have won him lots of attention - said on his Facebook page yesterday that he was “absolutely overwhelmed with all the messages of support.”
His original goal was to reach the last 1,000 players and win back his $10,000 dollar entry fee before going home to Bridlington and saying to his wife Mandy: “I did it.”
His previous biggest win at Napoleon’s Casino in Hull was £785 - and until now his total winnings were just over £1,500.
Mr Hesp, who owns Bridlington Caravan Centre, said he and wife, Mandy, who have been together for 20 years, would be heading to celebrate with a holiday to their very own caravan on a park in Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate.
He said: “I just hope I have spread a little light and happiness in the game. I have been told there are a lot more people watching the broadcast that have never watched before so it has got to be good for TV ratings. People do like fun. I play poker recreationally and I will continue to do so. But one thing I won’t be doing is turning into a professional poker player. I want to stay an amateur and continue having fun.”