Johnny Chan is a professional poker player also known as "Oriental Express". He was born in Guangzhou, China in 1957 and as of 2006, he has won more than $5,500,000 in poker tournaments. In 1962 Johnny Chan moved from China to Hong Kong along with this family and in 1968 he arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. After 5 years, in 1973, he moved to Houston, Texas. The family business in Houston was that was running restaurants and Johnny Chan had fully planned to join in the running commercial venture but for a small incident that carried him, then 16 years old, to Las Vegas. The influence of that small visit may be witnessed in the fact that at the age of 21, Johnny Chan dropped out of the University Houston, abruptly ending his career in hotel management in order to begin his career as a professional gambler.
According to Johnny Chan, his earliest successes may be attributed to the fact that his opponents had never faced an Asian player prior to him. Fame arrived with the 1980s World Series of Poker championship that Johnny Chan won in 1987 and 1988. He missed winning his 3rd consecutive world championship in 1989 when he was placed second after losing to Phil Hellmuth. Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and an active player of poker himself had promised Johnny Chan that in case he won three consecutive WSOP titles, Jerry would provide him with a NBA championship ring.
One of the things that became associated with Johnny Chan was the orange that he always kept on the table in front of him when playing. Many people assumed this was for luck and they started imitating this behavior by bringing fruit of their own. However, Johnny Chan explained that the orange was used only as a counter measure against tobacco smoke and smell. He used to be a smoker himself but now he neither smokes nor drinks. In 2002, Johnny Chan was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Johnny Chan won his 10th WSOP title in 2005 after beating Phil Laak. At present, he shares the honor of holding 10 WSOP titles with Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth.
Also in 2005, Johnny Chan was a participant in the $400,000 Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament held in February. At one point during the tournament he was down to $20,000 out of the total value in play but he came back with remarkable skill to finished 2nd after Gus Hansen. Chan was also a participant in the Poker Superstars II tournament held in the summer of 2005. In this innings he beat 22 professional players and reached the finals where he beat Todd Brunson in three matches and won the $400,000 prize. He later made an appearance in Poker Superstars III but apparently third time was not lucky for him as he was defeated in the semi-finals by Todd Brunson.
The one place that Johnny Chan has never reached the finals table is in the World Poker Tournament, though he has played in many events leading up to there.