Johnny Chan
by Greg Cavouras  

Johnny Chan - Source

Back to back world championships, appearance in a Hollywood film, and successful restaurateur are just some of the things Johnny Chan could put on a resume. It’s not like he needs another job though, as the savvy Chan has left his mark as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Skeptics need only be referred to his 10 World Series of Poker gold bracelets and long list of accomplishments. It’s no wonder many consider Chan to be one of the best all around players in the world.


Born in Canton, China, Chan moved to Hong Kong in 1962. In 1968, he and his family immigrated to the United States and touched down in Phoenix, Arizona. From there, he moved to Texas in 1973 where he attended the University of Houston. At age 21, he dropped out of school to become a professional gambler. This was a marked life decision for a young man who was expected to carry on in his family’s restaurant business, a trade he wouldn’t pick up until after a very significant and very lucrative detour through the poker world.


Johnny Chan earned his position in the poker world, and his nickname “The Orient Express”, when took the reins of the Poker World by winning back-to-back WSOP Championship titles in 1987 and 1988. Only a hot Phil Hellmuth prevented him from pulling off the game’s first three-peat in 1989, where he finished runner up to Hellmuth.


Chan is tied with Hellmuth and legend Doyle Brunson for the record for WSOP bracelets, with each player holding an incredible nine. Chan has displayed his characteristic versatility by spreading his wins out, as he is a champion in many forms of Poker.


As well as his many WSOP titles and Poker wins, Chan was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002, becoming the first Chinese-born player to do so. He has also appeared in the feature film “Rounders”, in which he plays himself as the best poker player in the world. The film contains memorable footage of Chan’s greatest play from the WSOP in 1988- Against a then-inexperienced Eric Siedel, Chan trapped Siedel into going all-in with a pair of Queens. Chan turned over a straight, and took home his second WSOP title.


While he doesn’t compete as much in Poker as he once did, Chan’s accomplishments have secured him a permanent home in the Poker record books. Currently, Johnny is running a fast food business in Las Vegas, and also works as a consultant to casinos and game makers.

Johnny Chan's Official Site

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