Born in 1957, in Guangzhou, China, Johnny Chan is one of the most prominent personalities of the poker world, live or online.
He is the only player in the history of the WSOP who almost won the Main Event three times in a row. He won it in 1987 and 1988, and almost won it again in 1989, when he finished 2nd to Phil Hellmuth.
Johnny Chan is also one of the poker players who sport an almost record number of WSOP bracelets. He has 10 such pieces of coveted jewelry, as many as poker legend Doyle Brunson, one fewer than Phil Hellmuth though, who is currently the record holder.
Johnny Chan moved to Hong Kong from Guangzhou in 1962. His family didn’t find the prosperity they’ve been searching for there though, so in 1968 they moved to Phoenix, AZ. Houston, TX was the next stop, where they set up a successful catering business and restaurant. Johnny was supposed to take over the family business, but little did his parents know back then that their offspring had already made plans in a radically different direction.
He began playing poker at around the age of 16, and became serious about it at 21. His first move towards this rather unconventional career was to give up his major in hotel and restaurant management and drop out of the University of Houston.
Subsequently, he moved to Las Vegas and began playing poker full time.
In the beginning, Lady Luck would treat him harshly and his smoking and drinking habits took a rather heavy toll on his performance at the table. In the late 80s however, he decided to clean his act up, he quit drinking, smoking and began to eat healthily. Results were quick to follow. He won his first WSOP bracelet in 1985, in the $1,000 Limit Holdem event, followed by his legendary run of almost three consecutive Big Dance wins.
He also won WSOP bracelets in 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2002. In 2003, he won no fewer than three gold bracelets: in the $5,000 NL Holdem, the $5,000 PL Omaha and the $2,500 PL Holdem events.
Johnny Chan is known to carry a fresh orange around with him wherever he plays, which many players regard as his lucky charm. Chan has explained however that he only carries the orange because its fresh scent suppresses the smell of smoke which now bothers him (smoking used to be allowed in many live poker tourneys).
Besides poker, Johnny Chan generates revenue from a fast food franchise, from online play and he has his own poker room over at Chanpoker.com where he plays as the in-house pro.
He has 3 money finishes in different WPT events, and he’s also appeared on Poker After Dark, where in his four appearances, he tallied three wins and a second place.
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