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Poker Player Bio - Johnny Chan " The Orient Express"

Annie Duke Poker Player BioJohnny Chan is one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world of poker. Known as “The Orient Express”, Johnny holds an amazing 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, putting him in a class with notable professionals Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth, the only other players to hold bracelets numbering in the double digits. Since his first WSOP win in 1985, he has been dominating tables with his aggressive style and making a name for himself as one of the most respected and revered players to ever have graced the felt. Chan’s success story is an impressive feat, taking him from immigrant child to multi-millionaire celebrity.

Chan was born in Canton, China in 1957. His family relocated to Hong Kong in 1963, and from there immigrated to America in 1968. His life as an American began in Phoenix, Arizona, where his family resided until moving to Houston, Texas. It was here that his family opened a Chinese restaurant, named Hoe Sai Gai, where Johnny worked developing his poker game, he regularly played chess and bowled, excelling at each of these games and occasionally winning money.

He learned the game from the restaurant employees and regulars, who would play at the tables after the restaurant had closed for the night. His poker skills were quickly apparent, winning week after week, at an incredibly young age, until the other players informed him they were ending the regular poker games. Stumbling upon the regular players back at the tables on the usual night, he realized that they just wanted him gone.

In 1978, at the age of 21, he left college to move to Las Vegas and pursue a career as a professional poker player. In 1982, he seemed to have an epiphany that would change his life as a poker player forever. He gave up a four-pack-a-day cigarette habit, bringing an orange to the table to distract himself from the smell of other player’s smoke. This orange has since become a trademark and good luck charm for him. During this year,he also had his first large tournament win, at the America’s Cup Tournament. He plowed through the majority of the players at the final tables in record time, earning his nickname, “Orient Express” from the tournament’s announcer.

Over the next few years, he would continue his winning streak and further creating a name for himself throughout the tournament circuits. Winning his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 1985 was the first step on his way to becoming a record holder for wins in this tournament series. His back-to-back main event wins in 1987 and 1988 made him the only player in the history of the WSOP to win main event bracelets in consecutive years.

He won his tenth bracelet in 2005, sharing the honor with Doyle Brunson as world record holder for WSOP bracelets won, until Phil Hellmuth took that title with his 11th bracelet in 2007. Besides his WSOP wins, Chan has taken his share of the pot in countless other tournaments over the years, on his way to becoming the most recognizable player in the professional poker world. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

Johnny Chan - Tournament Wins

  • $ 20,000 Week 2 2008 Nets vs. Vets Poker After Dark IV - 5th
  • $ 10,000 World Championship No Limit Hold'em 2008 WSOP - 329th
  • $ 32,166 $ 5,000 Pot Limit Omaha 2008 WSOP - 4th $ 246,874
  • $ 10,000 World Championship Mixed Event 2008 WSOP - 13th $ 27,072
  • $ 20,000 Week 6 - 2008 "International" Poker After Dark III - 1st $ 120,000
  • $ 20,000 Week 4 - 2008 "World Champions" Poker After Dark III - 1st $ 120,000
  • $ 1,500 Pot Limit Omaha 2007 WSOP - 20th $ 5,504



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