10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan is one of the greatest tournament and cash game players of all time
Name: Johnny Chan
Tournament winnings: $8.3m
Nickname: The Orient Express
Greatest moment: Winning back-to-back WSOP Main Events from 1987-88
Johnny Chan is one of the most famous names in all of poker, with 10 WSOP bracelets and over $8m in tournament winnings.
After dropping out of Houston University aged 21, Johnny moved to Las Vegas to try his hand as a professional poker player.
He quickly established himself on the tournament circuit, winning the first of ten World Series Of Poker bracelets in the 1985 $1,000 Limit Hold’em event.
It took a further two years before Chan added to his tally by winning the biggest prize of all – the WSOP Main Event. Remarkably, he retained his title the next year becoming only the fourth player – alongside Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Moss – to do so. Chan nearly made it a stunning trio of wins in 1989 but instead fell just short, losing heads-up to an emerging star by the name of Phil Hellmuth.
Alongside his WSOP victories, Chan’s extremely aggressive style earned him the nickname of The Orient Express. Chan was enshrined in poker legend when he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002. His last WSOP bracelet came three years later in a $2,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event.
Chan’s popularity rose significantly when he was featured in the 1998 film Rounders starring Matt Damon as fallen poker player Mike McDermott. Chan is seen slow-playing his flopped straight against Erik Seidel’s top pair in footage from the 1988 WSOP Main Event final table. Damon’s character later recalls bluffing Chan in Atlantic City, declaring he sat with the best – and won. Despite earning modest reviews, the profile of Texas Hold’em and The Orient Express himself were raised substantially.
Chan’s poker accomplishments also extend beyond the WSOP, as he has captured four Poker After Dark titles from six appearances and is a regular player in the Big Game inside Bobby’s Room.