Johnny Chan - Poker's Orient Express
There are very few Poker players, past and present, who could measure up to the level of success that China's Johnny Chan, a.k.a. the Orient Express, has attained. Truly, when one looks at the achievements of this player, it would come as no surprise that he is considered an icon.
Although he was born in Canton, China, Johnny Chan spent his early childhood in Hong Kong. When he was 11, the family moved to the United Sates. Settling in Houston, Texas the family started a restaurant business, but the circumstances would draw him to the world of gambling and Poker.
Back in the mid 1960s, practically anyone could get into a Las Vegas casino and play provided they had the money. At 16, Chan discovered Texas Holdem, and started to frequent the gambling establishments there. He would drop out of Houston University and start a career as a Poker professional.
Although he would win several Poker cash games and tourneys in the 70s, it was during the 1980s that the Orient Express would truly make his mark. Johnny Chan would win the World Series of Poker in 1987 and 1988, becoming only the second player in history (after Doyle Brunson) to perform the feat. He also made it to the finals of the 1989 WSOP but lost to Phil Hellmuth.
In interviews, Chan had said that a reason for his immediate success in the game was due to the fact that a lot of the Poker players in Las Vegas had very little experience against Asian players. Quite often, opponents would underestimate him, as it was perceived that gambling was not popular in the continent, and the competition not as intense. This allowed him to take full advantage and rack up the wins.
Johnny Chan has a total of ten WSOP bracelets, tied for second alongside Doyle Brunson. Bedside the WSOP Main Events, he ahs also won the $5,000 No Limit Holdem in 2003 and the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha.
He has also published two books, Play Poker Like Johnny Chan in 2005, and Million Dollar Holdem in 2006. Aside from that, he owns and manages an online site and a restaurant. In 2002, Chan was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Although he has other interests, Johnny Chan remains committed to playing Poker, and remains one of the best players in the game. With earnings of over $6.7 million the Orient Express is just getting started.