The name John Juanda has been appearing on chip stack leader boards in tournaments around the world for more than fifteen years now. With his trademark piercing stare at the live tables he's a player who never looks tired or frustrated, and always appears outwardly calm. In a live arena where some players always seem to be seeking a microphone or camera through which they can remind people of their presence, Juanda has only ever made noise with his results.
From Indonesia to Japan
In 1971 John Juanda was born in Indonesia, before later moving to the USA in 1990 so that he could join Oklahoma State University. He reportedly first played poker on the flight over, and through the next 7 years, the foundations of a great poker career were slowly being built. Despite moving to the states for education purposes, and spending large part of his poker career there, in recent years he has relocated to Japan, where he currently lives. According to Juanda, the city of Tokyo, its hospitality, and its food were defining reasons for his taking up permanent residence there.
It was in the year of 1997 that John Juanda appeared at a few events and started winning poker tournaments, with his first WSOP cash coming in 1999 and his real breakthrough year being 2002 when he won his first WSOP bracelet. In order to gain a better understanding of John Juanda as a poker player you need only look at his results over the years. He has 65 WSOP cashes, with 30 final tables and 5 bracelets. He has a bracelet in the following games, Limit A-5 Triple Draw, Pot Limit Omaha, Holdem, Seven Card Stud hi/lo, and No Limit 2-7 Draw. He has placed in the top 10 in Razz, Omaha hi/lo, and just about every type of event played at the world series. This mixture of games shows what a great all round player Juanda is, seemingly comfortable with every variation of poker game imaginable. It is not only in the WSOP that Juanda has competed, he has taken part in numerous WPT and EPT events along with the Aussie Millions. He has made many deep runs outside of the WSOP, most notably in the WPT where he has 6 final tables. Both the WPT title and EPT title have so far eluded him, although he has certainly been unlucky to miss out on a WPT victory so far. By his own admission, Juanda is not a huge fan of Las Vegas, with its bright lights and sometimes angry patrons.
John Juanda won 5 WSOP bracelets
He speaks far more positively about the Macau games where he sits in some of the biggest cash games in the world, with stakes of 10,000/20,000 HKD in addition to multiple straddles. Despite the stakes in Macau being higher than Vegas, Juanda says that players always behave like gentlemen, and he also praises the EPT, which he says does a great job of looking after its players. John Juanda also represented online poker room FullTilt for a number of years and seemed to move from live games to online with relative ease. He has been seen at the highest stakes in the past, proving to be a consistent winner at mixed games and continues to be active up until quite recently.
One of the quiet players on the poker circuit, John Juanda came from a background which is familiar to many poker players in terms of parents who were always warning him not to gamble, and a determined, intelligent child growing up and finding a way to prove them wrong. As one of four children, Juanda was always caring towards his family, even helping to put one of his siblings through school while he was living in the USA. He harbours a dream of one day using medical school qualifications to travel to underprivileged parts of the world, helping those too deep in poverty to help themselves. As John himself says, he has spent half his life living out of a suitcase, and you would suspect that he'll continue to do so for the next few years at least. It’s not clear whether he has a target for what he wants to accomplish in the remaining years of his poker career, but you would guess that you won't stop hearing from him.
More about John Juanda :
– All his tournament results on Hendonmob : http://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=130
– John Juanda vs Phil Ivey in a $700k pot online : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2s1z-rs2Fs