Johnny Chan (born in 1957) is a legendary and highly respected Chinese American professional poker player. Chan is known for his excellent poker strategy and wins. In his career, till date, he has 10 World Series of Poker bracelets to his credit that also include 1987 and 1988 World Series of Poker Main Events won back to back. As an appreciation for his exceptional poker skills, Chan was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002. He remains to be an inspiration for many poker players.
Johnny Chan was born in Guangzhou, China. But in 1962 his family moved to Hong Kong. and then to Phoenix, USA in 1968In 1973, Chan moved to Houston, Texas where his family owned restaurants. His interests changed when at the age of 16, Johnny Chan visited Las Vegas, Nevada .
Chan showed little interest in education and so at the age of 21 he dropped out of the University of Houston, where he was studying hotel and restaurant management. He showed much interest in gambling and eventually moved to Las Vegas to realize his dream of becoming a professional player. Apart from his passion for poker, he also has a franchise of a fast-food joint in the Las Vegas Stratosphere Hotel. He also acts as a consultant in many casinos and has written a few columns for Card Player magazine. He appeared in the first (2006) season and 2011 seasons of the GSN series High Stakes Poker. It is his dream to have his own casino some day.
Chan started his own online poker page in 2007 but had to close down the same in 2008, unable to sustain competition.
Johnny Chan has achieved much success in the world of poker. But he loves to attribute his early success to the fact that many players had not previously played against Asian players. In the late 1980s, his fame took a leap when he won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) championship event in 1987 and 1988, consecutively. In 1989, Johnny Chan unfortunately could not complete his hat rick and finished second against Phil Hellmuth.
Chan also earns respect as the last player to have won back-to-back WSOP Main Events. Interestingly, Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers also an ardent poker player, promised to present Chan an NBA championship ring if he could win the championship three times in a row.
In the world of poker, Johnny Chan is well known for his inclination to keep a "lucky" orange with him while playing. This trend was followed by a few players after Chan’s second successive WSOP title by bringing fruit to the table with the help that might bring good luck. But Chan clarifies the reason to carry an orange is that its pleasant scent prevents the smoke of cigars and cigarettes.
In 2005, Johnny Chan also created the history by being the first poker player to win ten World Series of Poker titles in a Texas hold 'em event by vanquishing his opponent Phil Laak. Presently, Chan is tied with Doyle Brunson for the second place with 10 World Series of Poker bracelets.
Chan for the first time in his career cashed in the main event with a whopping amount of $32,166 in the year 2008. Following this, in 2010 he cashed an amount of $32,166.
In February 2005, Chan contended in the $400,000 Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament and finished in second place to Gus Hansen. He also participated in the popular Poker Superstars II in 2005 defeating 22 skilled players to reach the finals. He ruled the tournaments by defeating Todd Brunson and by winning the first prize worth $400,000. In the Poker Superstars III he reappeared but was unfortunately defeated by Todd Brunson in the semi finals.
Chan has also displayed his excellence on NBC’s late night show Poker After Dark by achieving maximum number of victories in the $20,000 buy-in winner-takes-all tournament.
Chan made a lot of changes in his lifestyle, eating habits, improved his game and made a fresh mark in the poker world with his victory in Bob Stupak's 1981 American Cup poker tournament by defeating all 9 other players impressively in less than an hour. It was after this victory, that he earned the nickname, The Orient Express in 1982
Chan has made several attempts to make his mark in the World Poker Tour (WPT) but has remained unsuccessful so far.