Johnny Chan: A Ten-Time World Series of Poker Bracelet Winner and Master of Baccarat

Written By Janice Doughtrey

An Early Start in the Gambling World

Johnny Chan, originally from Guangzhou, China, relocated to the United States with his family when he was young. His early exposure to the world of gambling came from his family’s restaurant in Texas, which was located near a private gaming club. These experiences had a profound impact on his decision to become a professional poker player.

First Steps in Poker

Johnny Chan’s early years in the poker scene were far from glamorous. After dropping out of college, he traveled to Las Vegas with a tiny bankroll and big dreams. Financial setbacks initially threatened his ambition, but persistence and talent eventually paid off. In 1985, he had his first significant tournament win, taking home a WSOP bracelet.

Ten WSOP Bracelets and Two Main Event Titles

Over the years, Chan accumulated an incredible ten World Series of Poker bracelets, including two Main Event championships in 1987 and 1988. His skills in Texas Hold’em are legendary, but what sets him apart is his versatility in other forms of poker and table games like baccarat.

The Orient Express

Nicknamed the “Orient Express,” Chan was not only swift but also incredibly effective at the poker table. His reading abilities and knack for making tough calls are cited as some of the key factors contributing to his enormous success. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Chan was never a loud or ostentatious player; he let his expertise do the talking.

Impact on the Asian-American Community

Chan’s accomplishments serve as an inspiration to the Asian-American community. Being one of the most successful Asian players in a domain traditionally dominated by Americans and Europeans, he has done much to bring diversity to the game.

Beyond Poker: A Stint at Baccarat

While he’s most famous for his poker accomplishments, Johnny Chan is also known for his skill in baccarat. He’s managed to accumulate significant wins in this game, demonstrating his ability to master multiple types of gambling activities.

Media Appearances and Endorsements

Johnny Chan’s notoriety isn’t confined to the card table. He’s appeared in films and television shows, most notably in the 1998 movie “Rounders,” where he portrayed himself. He’s also been involved in various business ventures and endorsements, further expanding his influence and fame beyond the gambling world.

Awards and Honors

Chan was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002, a testament to his skill, strategy, and impact on the game. His life and achievements have been covered by numerous media outlets, making him one of the most public figures in the poker community.

Johnny Chan’s Legacy

Chan’s legacy in the gambling world is secure. He’s become a symbol of what talent, hard work, and dedication can achieve. As poker continues to evolve, attracting new and younger talents, Chan’s achievements remain an enduring part of its history.


Johnny Chan isn’t just a poker player; he’s a cultural icon, an inspiration, and a testament to what’s possible in the world of professional gambling. He embodies the traits that define not just a great poker player but also a remarkable individual.