John Juanda is one of the most well-regarded players poker has ever had. His consistency at tables is unparalleled, as he consistently founda way to make it to the final table regardless of how competitive or experienced his opponents might be.
The Indonesian-born player was exposed to gambling at an early age, as his father had both gambling and drinking problems. While he played marbles and other games for fun in school, he wasn’t yet gambling. He was a bright kid and a high school track star for the 200m sprints and 5000m race. In 1990, at 19 years old, he decided to move to the US in 1990 to study.
Juana was introduced to poker during his college studies in the US at Oklahoma State University. He went on to earn an MBA from Seattle University. His weekends were dedicated to learning how to play the game. Gradually, he built up his skills and started to visit casinos to implement his strategies.
After the completion of his MBA in 1996, he decided to focus fully on poker, using funds he bankrolled from weekend games. The west coast was the starting point of his illustrious career, moving closer to Los Angeles to partake in higher stakes poker games.
Major Tournament Wins
It wasn’t until 1999 that John mustered enough courage to compete in his first major tournament. He bought into the World Series of Poker Hold’em event that had a $1,500 limit. He finished the tournament in ninth position out of 609 registered players and went home with a $14,615 win. A few months later, he bought into the same event but this time, the buy-in was $3,000 and he finished in 7th. He was bested at the final table by experienced professionals like Captain Tom Franklin, Howard Lederer, Hosh Arieh, and Humberto Brenes.
In 2000 and 2001, Juanda competed in several events and always made the top 10 list, with his best performance seeing him clinch the number three spot at the $2,500 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo Split Eight-or-Better event.
2002 sparked the beginning of something different though, as he won his first WSOP bracelet. He participated in five different WSOP tournaments and cashed out in all of them. He advanced to the finals table in three and won one bracelet. In 2003, he replicated his accomplishment at the WSOP, this time winning two more bracelets and cashing out in six different events.
Perhaps his biggest accomplishment came in 2008, when Juanda won his fourth bracelet at the WSOP Europe Main Event in London. He battled for over 19 hours with Stanislav Alekhin before clinching the title and going home with over $1.5 million. In the past decade, he has had huge winnings at several poker events, with the biggest being the HK$1 million Triton Macau Main Event, his highest cash win to date. He also performed very well at the 2012 $100,000 World Poker Tour Super High Roller, European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event in 2015, European Poker Tour Barcelona 2018, and Triton High Roller Series Korea in 2019.
Total Poker Winnings
Throughout his career, the 49-year-old has accumulated over $25.6 million from poker winnings, with his biggest win of $2,870,092 coming from the HK$1 million Triton Macau Main Event in 2017. His five WSOP bracelets have accumulated a total win of $2,290,080. With these achievements, Juanda is ranked 1st among all Indonesian players, and 14th on the All-Time Money List.
Making a bet against Juana to make it to the final table is unwise, as he has proved his consistency and ability to do just that. In 2015, Juanda was deservedly inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.