Johnny Chan – The Orient Express

Johnny Chan

Nationality: United States of America
Total Live Earnings: $8,781,704
HendonMob Ranking: 77th US All-Time
Info courtesy of TheHendonMob
WSOP Main Event Titles


WSOP Bracelets


Poker After Dark Wins


Last update: 2024/05/31


Johnny Chan is one of the most iconic figures in the world of poker. Born on February 10, 1957, in Guangzhou, China, Chan moved to the United States with his family at a young age. He has built a successful career in poker, becoming only one of five players who have multiple World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event titles.

Early Life

Chan’s family immigrated to the United States in 1968, initially settled in Phoenix, Arizona, and later moved to Houston, Texas, where his family opened a restaurant. Chan attended the University of Houston but dropped out to pursue a career in poker. At only 21 years of age, he moved to Las Vegas to play poker professionally.

World Series of Poker

Johnny Chan etched his name in WSOP history books by winning back-to-back Main Events in 1987 and 1988. The latter was particularly memorable, as the final hand against Erik Seidel was immortalized in the movie Rounders. Chan is one of only five players with more than two Main Event wins, joining the ranks of Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar with three titles and Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth with two each. Chan had an opportunity to three-peat in 1989 but finished as runner-up to Phil Hellmuth. His aggressive style of play, achievements, and being the first non-American-born poker player to win the Main Event earned him the nickname “The Orient Express.”

In 2005, Chan secured his tenth WSOP bracelet, tying him for second place with legends Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and Erik Seidel. To date, Chan has accumulated over $4.7 million in WSOP earnings. In the 2010s, Johhny Chan wasn’t as active on the WSOP circuit as he used to be, but that has changed recently and he is now more frequently seen during the summer in Las Vegas, playing in WSOP events and hunting for new bracelets.

Johnny Chan’s WSOP Bracelets

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

Other Poker Achievements

While Chan’s WSOP success is well-documented, he doesn’t have many other significant achievements in other major tours. His best career cash result comes from the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, where he earned $750,000 as a runner-up to Gus Hansen in Season 1.

Chan was also a frequent participant on the popular poker TV show Poker After Dark, a six-max $20,000 buy-in winner-takes-all sit-and-go, where he won a record four times from 2007 to 2009.

In addition to playing poker, Chan has authored several books on poker strategy. In 2005, he collaborated with Mark Karowe to release the book Play Poker Like Johnny Chan, followed by Million Dollar Hold’em: Limit Cash Games in 2006. He also contributed to books like Doyle Brunson’s Super System and Superstar Poker Strategy.

Popular Culture

Johnny Chan’s most notable popular culture moment is his cameo in the movie Rounders. Besides the footage of the final hand of the 1988 WSOP Main Event against Erik Seidel, Chan also played himself in a famous scene where Matt Damon’s character bluffs him. This scene has become iconic in the poker world and cemented Chan’s status as a poker legend, both within and outside the poker community.

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