John Juanda is an Indonesian professional poker player based in California.
Juanda was born in 1971 in Indonesia, even though he is Chinese. As a child in Indonesia, he lived with his grandparents for several years because his parents were involved with the start-up of a business. He returned to his parents' household after the business was steady.
His father, a serious gambler, lectured him about the risks involved with gambling and advised him not to gamble when he grew up. But Juanda was shooting marbles for money even in elementary school.
Juanda moved from Indonesia to the United States in 1990 to attend Oklahoma State University. On the flight over, his friend taught him the basics of poker, like basic strategy and the odds. Juanda graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing and management and then moved to Seattle to pursue his MBA at the University of Seattle. After that, he worked a variety of jobs, from selling bibles door-to-door to trading stocks. During this time, he was also spending some time at a cardroom in Seattle, building his poker skills and his bankroll. By 1996, he had the confidence and bankroll to attempt playing poker full-time.
In 1999, he made the final table in his first two WSOP tournaments. In 2000, he finished in 2nd at the US Poker championships for $159,000. The next year, he finished 2nd again for $ 131,100. That same year, he he won his first tournament after he flew to Tunica to play in the Jack Binion World Poker Open, winning the $5,000 No Limit Hold 'Em Championship for $ 283,240.
In 2002, he won $278,240 in the WPT $10,000 no-limit event at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Still in 2002, he won his first bracelet in the Triple Draw Lowball event for $49,620. He then won two more bracelets in 2003 in the $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha for $203,840 and $2,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split for $130,200. In both 2001 and 2002 he was Cardplayer tournament Player of the Year.
In 2004 he won the inaugural Professional Poker Tour event at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut for $225,000.
In 2006, he defeated a field that including Mike Sexton, Barry Greenstein, Phil Ivey, and Tony G to win the first prize of AUD$1,000,000 ($732,901) in the Crown Australian Poker Championship AUD$100,000 speed poker event.
In 2008, he won his 4th bracelet in the 2008 WSOP Europe £10,000 Main Event for £868,800 (over $1.5 million). And over a week later, he finished 2nd to Jason Mercier at the European Poker Tour's £20,000 High Roller event, earning £327,000 ($598,770).
As a player, Juanda is known as an respectful, intelligent, and quietly contemplative player. Nonetheless, he can be intense and aggressive. As a person, he is known to be one of the nicest people in the poker world. With his winnings to date, he has taken his sister into his home and is putting her through school.
As of 2009, he has 4 WSOP bracelets, 50 WSOP cashes (9th place all time), 17 WPT cashes, 6 WPT final tables, and total live tournament winnings exceeding $9,600,000. Juanda is a member of "Team Full Tilt" at Full Tilt Poker.
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