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Johnny Chan

Johnny "Orient Express" Chan - Poker Legend

Johnny ChanBorn in 1957 in Guangzhou China, Johnny Chan has grown into one of the greatest poker players of all time.  Chan came to America in 1968 with his family where they ran several restaurants in the Texas area. 

At the age of 16, Chan started to realize his love for poker.  It wasn’t long before he was testing his luck and doubling his earnings at the poker table, alongside many older, more experienced players.

Chan started playing in some underground games run in his father's restaurant.  Chan consistently won week after week, and the other players began taking notice.  The other players did not enjoy losing their money and began telling Chan that there would not be a game on the regularly scheduled night.  Out of curiosity, Chan checked out the scene on the respective night and saw the usual cars in the parking lot. He had been ousted because of his talents.

At age 16, the the young Johnny Chan made his first trip to Las Vegas where he illegally sat with $500. In one night, he turned his $500 to $20,000 — but went on to lose it all the very next night.

Even though he was amazing at poker, Chan aspired to continue the family business. He had enrolled in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, but at the age of 21 left it all to pursue a full time career as a professional gambler.

Still relatively unknown on the tournament trail, Chan boldly entered into Bob Stupak’s America’s Cup Tournament.  By the end of the tournament, Chan had knocked out 13 out of 16 players in a little over 30 minutes.  It was then that Chan was quickly nicknamed ‘The Orient Express.’

At times, Chan had to sell off many of his possessions to keep his bankroll alive.  Doyle Brunson once said, “Johnny was a hot-headed kid with some talent. But he didn’t know when to keep his temper under control or know when to quit playing.”

Chan’s playing style is extremely aggressive.  He has been called a bully at the table more than once and it has only served him well.  In 1987, he won the main event at the World Series of Poker and went on to successfully defend his title again in 1988.

Chan’s 1988 WSOP victory against Erik Seidel was immortalized in the 1998 film, Rounders, starring Ed Norton and Matt Damon.  Not only did Chan have a cameo appearance in the movie, he taught the actors how to play, and offered bluffing tips in between takes.
So what’s next for the man who has everything? His ultimate goal is to own and manage his own casino, an aspiration that naturally suits Chan’s career background and industry experience. And, given Chan’s track record in the poker business; this future venture—along with anything Chan touches--is bound to be a success.

Johnny Chan's WSOP Bracelets:

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1985 $1,000 Limit Hold'em $171,000
1987 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $625,000
1988 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $700,000
1994 $1,500 Seven Card Stud $135,600
1997 $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw $164,250
2000 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha $178,800
2002 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em Gold Bracelet Match Play $34,000
2003 $5,000 No Limit Hold'em $224,400
2003 $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha $158,100
2005 $2,500 Pot Limit Hold'em $303,025


Johnny Chan Pictures

Chan Winning at the 2006 WSOP
Johnny Chan at the 2006 WSOP

Chan Winning the '87 WSOP
Chan at the '87 WSOP

Johnny Chan 1984
Chan after a major win in 1984

Johnny Chan Videos

Chan Winning the 1988 WSOP

Poker Superstars Interview with Chan

Johnny Chan vs. Chris Moneymaker - 2003 WSOP

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Johnny Chan also appears occasionally in the Bankroll Boost Poker Gossip Blog.