Johnny Chan .. The Orange .. The Rap Video .. and more
Johnny Chan, one of the greatest poker players of all times, was born in Canton, China, in 1957, to parents of modest means. The family moved to Hong Kong in 1962 and from there immigrated to the United States in 1968. They settled in Phoenix, Arizona, where they lived until 1973, when they moved to Houston, Texas. Once there Johnny Chan’s parents opened a restaurant called Hoe Sai Gai, which means Great Whirl in English. Their life was good and Johnny helped out in the family business.
Johnny Chan’s parents wanted him to take over the restaurant business and he enrolled in Houston University in a Hotel and Restaurant Management program. Johnny Chan quit college and moved to Houston when he was 21 to pursue his dream as a professional poker player.
At 16 Johnny Chan put up $2,500 for a junket to Las Vegas. Once there he lost it all on the tables before taking a walk and seeing poker being played at the Golden Nugget. He maxed his credit card, a $200 balance, hocked a gold chain, and sat down to play with his $320 bankroll. A week later he had turned it into $30,000.
Perhaps you have seen Johnny Chan play poker with an orange sitting by his stack of chips. The orange has become known as his good luck symbol. Johnny Chan used to be a four pack a day cigarette smoker, but he quit smoking in 1982 when he decided to better his life physically. Back then, smoking was allowed in the casinos and Johnny Chan started bringing an orange to his games to cover up the smell of the cigarette smoke. At the same time, Johnny Chan’s poker playing start to really take off and the orange, with its delicious citrus fragrance, has been with Johnny Chan ever since.
If you happened to see the rap video, which is on YouTube, of Johnny Chan singing rap, and bopping his head, at a poker table with Phil Helmuth and Layne Flack, the answer is yes - it really is the poker greats in the video. The Rio in Vas Lages became the setting for the video which is going to be released in the 2007 World Series of Poker Activision video game. The song “All In” is done by rappers Raw, Holly Rae, Alexander Neal, and ProHoeZak.
Johnny Chan owns a fast food restaurant in The Stratosphere in Las Vegas. Has written several books on poker, and is a contributing writer to Card Player Magazine and The Daily Trader. He is also a partner in opening up 5th Street Poker Hotels.
Johnny Chan had a cameo role in the movie “Rounders,” starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, where he played himself.
Johnny Chan is the father of six children and all their names start with the letter J.
The owner of six homes, Johnny Chan enjoys good food and the good life. He hopes one day to own his own casino.