Born as the eldest child of four on 8 July 1971 in Medan, Indonesia, Johnson Juanda was a likable, well-grounded child. John, as he was soon nicknamed is a child of mixed heritage with Indonesian and Chinese parents. He spent his formative years with his grandparents, yet in contact with his parents and his father was a gambler-drinker, not a winning combination. He did not heed his father’s advice to keep away gambling and his first taste of gambling for money was by playing marbles in grade school.
On completing school, he left for America to educate himself to carry out his responsibility towards his family to care for them.
His flight to America in 1990 for his education at Oklahoma State University was a revelation as he was taught to play poker on the long flight. He focused on his studies however in pursuing his degree in marketing and management. After obtaining his Bachelor’s at Oklahoma State, he went to Seattle for his MBA.
Obtaining his MBA successfully, he fell around in the job market deciding on a career, from selling bibles to trading stocks. During this period, he played poker at a card room in Seattle, honing his skills and with a hefty bankroll accumulated with his small wins, he decided to play poker professionally. He played small card rooms and casinos at first, before he moved to Los Angeles in order to play bigger stakes.
In 1999, John Juanda entered the $1,500 Hold’em WSOP event, which was his first attempt at major tournaments. He came in ninth place out of more than 600 entries and won his first tournament earning $14,615. A week later he entered the 1999 WSOP 30th event, also Hold’em, and came second, winning $12,675. He continued to miss the next final table with a 10th place in the 2000 WSOP, but in 2001 came 3rd in the WSOP 7 Card Stud HI-Lo winning $39,770. Also in 2001 at a WSOP event, he won $16,440 reaching the final table in seventh place, during a Hold’em event. In 2002, he won a WSOP bracelet for the first time, followed by two more in 2003, then 2008 with his fifth bracelet won in 2011.
He won several other big tournaments such as the European Championship in 2008, taking home $1.5 Million, and the Aussie Millions in 2006. In the Tunica Jack Binion, he won $283,240 winning the title successfully in 2011. John’s recent cashes are a fifth place in August 2012 collecting $1,645,753 during the Macau HSCS High Roller event. Another second place in 2012’s Majestic, picking up $781,140.
During 2013 in two consecutive months, he won $78,675, and $54,770 respectively at the Monaco EPT Grand Final and the WSOP. During February 2014, he came 23rd in the Aussie Million winning $35,160.
With casino winnings of $14,916,956 and 30 career titles as well as 226 careers cashes up until end of February 2014, John a respected player to be reckoned within the poker community. On the tournament circuit he ranks at the top as far as accomplishments are concerned. Full Tilt Poker is proud to have him as one of the founding members. He is the proud carrier of five WSOP bracelets won during major events.
John Currently lives in Marina del Rey, Las Vegas and continuous to play poker in all the major tournaments and events on a full-time basis. The poker world and spectators will see him grow into an even bigger force to be reckoned with.