Johnny “Oriental Express” Chan

 He moved his family all the way from Hong Kong to Phoenix and then to the Houston area where his family owned some of the restaurants.

Johnny Chan is probably one of the most well-known players in the poker world. He moved his family all the way from Hong Kong to Phoenix and then to the Houston area where his family owned some of the restaurants. He was expected, like a family man, to continue on the family business and he even attended the University of Houston where he majored in restaurant and hotel management.

He took his life on a detour when he knew his salary was only going to get him into 2 of the high stakes poker tournaments. He wanted to become a professional poker player. He was an avid bowler when he decided to take up poker.He would actually hide that he was playing poker by saying that he was at the bowling alley instead.

He said his first year as a professional poker player was probably the worst experience in his life, while he was learning the ropes of poker, his losses from each game mounted high. The other players always wanted to play against him because they knew he would be an easy target which meant an easy payday for them. He couldn’t give his cash away fast enough each time he played. He gambled desperately, chasing each of his losses, and hoping for a miracle.

During this time he worked as a chef, floor manager, and dealer at casinos to support his gambling habits. He learned how to quit finally, and knowing that you can’t win it all at once. Small steps are something he had to learn. Soon he was able to take his money back from those players that kept winning his before. He is known as a legend in the poker world because he won ten of the World Series of Poker gold bracelets. The more impressive defeat was that two of the bracelets are from the back to back WSOP Main Events in 1987 and ’88. He almost went on to win ’89 as well. He actually finished in second place to Phil Hellmuth.

He is also known for keeping his “lucky” orange in front of him on the table, and on his second in a row WSOP win, other players starting following his lucky fruit trend in the hopes of increasing their luck as well. He says the only reason he has the orange with him is because of the pleasant scent that it gives off because smoking was allowed during tournaments back then and it used to bother him. He was once himself a smoker, but now he never drinks or smokes. He is also a very savvy businessman as well. He owns a fast food restaurant in the Las Vegas Stratosphere Hotel and does consulting for casinos and game makers in casinos.

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