Johnny Chan’s life is a tale of rags to riches. The ordinary Chinese boy became a professional Chinese- American poker player. As well as the 1987 and 1988 World Series of Poker main events, he has won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets.
Chan ( nicknamed Orient Express ) was born in Guangzhou, China, in 1957 and moved to the United States in 1968. His family settled in Arizona before relocating to Houston, Texas, where his family owned restaurants. He began playing cards here. As a 21-year-old, he dropped out of university and moved to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player.
Chan’s Gambling Career
During Chan’s first casino experience at age 16, he allegedly turned $500 into $20k by playing a cash game in one night. On the following day, however, he lost everything. He was also the first Chinese National to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP). There is a cameo appearance by Chan in the movie Rounders, which depicts the 1988 WSOP final heads-up.
The owner of the LA Lakers, Jerry Buss, promised him an NBA championship ring if he won three consecutive events. Instead, he finished second to Phil Hellmuth and lost out on the ring.
Chan became the first person to win ten World Series of Poker bracelets when he defeated Phil Laak in a $2,500 Pot Limit Texas Hold ‘Em event in 2005. Currently, he is tied with Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey for second place with 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, behind Phil Hellmuth. In 2002, he was inducted into the well-known Poker Hall of Fame.
Where is he now?
As well as playing poker, Chan owns and operates a fast-food franchise at the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas. Besides being a consultant for game makers and casinos, he is also the author of the book “Card Player.”