WSOP Main Event final table’s brutal 156 millon-chip hand.
WSOP Main Event final table’s brutal 156 millon-chip hand. ESPN

Poker star’s $156m blunder

THE man who was leading the World Series of Poker Main Event's final table thought he had a winning hand versus his main rival. He was horribly wrong.

English amateur John Hesp, usually a caravan salesman, was on the run of his life at the Las Vegas poker event, with just under 100 million in chips. That's when he ran into a fateful hand against American Scott Blumstein, who had about 77 million in chips.

Hesp drew suited ace-10 against Blumstein's pocket aces. The Englishman was in deep trouble - then virtually gone when an ace came out on the flop, and drawing dead for the ugliest beat of his life when a 10 appeared on the turn. "Oh my goodness, I don't like the look of this," the commentator said. "He must think he has the absolute best hand."

Thinking his top-two pair was rock solid, where it was in fact owned by Blumstein's trip-aces, Hesp checked, re-raised a three million bet from Blumstein to seven million, then went all-in against Blumstein's 17 million re-raise. That meant 156,050,000 chips in the pot.

WSOP's 156m chip hand: Hesp reacts on the left, Blumstein goes off with joy.
WSOP's 156m chip hand: Hesp reacts on the left, Blumstein goes off with joy. ESPN

As soon as they turned their cards over, Blumstein let out a victorious roar, while Hesp was left licking his wounds. Blumstein consoled his opponent, a favourite at the table, after calming down from the euphoria of taking a gigantic chip lead.

Hesp was left with just over 24 million chips. Not that he needs anyone's pity right now.

The 64-year-old grandad boasted 'career' winnings of £1,500 before the tournament, in which he paid $US10,000 to enter as one of 7221 players. By reaching the final six, he is guaranteed a payday of at least $US1.675 million. The tournament winner wins $US8.15 million and the coveted winner's bracelet, entering poker immortality.

Blumstein has since consolidated his lead, while Hesp is in last place of the remaining six players (as of Saturday afternoon AEST).

News Corp Australia

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