(Click Here for the Latest Online Poker News Stories)
Copyright © 2007 Poker Listings
HEADLINE: Business and poker: Johnny Chan's
in it to win it
Minutes before the cards are shuffled up and dealt at Event 2
of the Johnny
Chan Poker Classic in Richmond, B.C., the man of the hour
is outdoors, leaning against a wall of the River Rock Casino.
He's inconspicuous - track jacket, ball cap, blue jeans - apart
from the very large and expensive-looking pre-game cigar he puffs.
It's enough to make passersby look twice and, after the second
glance, rubberneck a third, fourth and fifth time to confirm that
they're in the company of one of the greatest poker players in
The likes of Johnny Chan don't show up in the Vancouver suburb
often, so when they do, local rounders take notice and come to
pay their respects. Tournament
organizers expected a Day 1 crowd of 500 on Sunday, but entrants
reached the 600-person cap. Day 2's last-minutes hopefuls were
turned away after learning the short-handed No-Limit Hold'em event
was also a sellout.
"I love Vancouver, and I love poker," he told PokerListings.com
in an interview before settling in at the tournament table Monday.
"This is a match made in heaven."
The event, apparently, is the latest beneficiary of Chan's golden
There are the back to back World Series of Poker championships,
a three-way tie with Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth for most
gold bracelets, a successful poker room and lucrative endorsement
deals. Save the occasional bad beat story, Chan does little complaining
these days as he prepares to win his 11th bracelet, fulfill a
lifelong dream of owning a casino, and embark on a new business
ventures that includes a flirtation with rap music.
He explained it all to PokerListings.com.
How did you become involved with the tournament?
I did a seminar here about six months ago. It was a great turnout
and the casino asked if I'd like to host a tournament, and I said,
'I'd love to. Let's talk.' That's where history began. We made
history yesterday. There were supposed to be 500 players and there
were 600 players. So it's great. Today I think we sold out. So
it's a great tournament, and I'm very excited, very happy, and
this place is good.
I've heard you've been here a couple times. What keeps you coming
The food. (Laughs.) Summertime is so beautiful. Whistler - I
took my kids hiking; in the winter you go skiing. It's a beautiful
Are you going to play in many events this week?
I'm going to play in at least three.
Do you still enjoy tournament poker?
I love this game. I love this game.
The World Series of Poker is coming up. How are you feeling about
I feel great. I'm looking for my 11th gold bracelet. I'm going
to be the first player ever to hit 11. Hopefully.
Does that add any pressure at all?
It's another day at the office. There's no pressure.
How many events will you play in this year?
Possibly 10-15. They have so many. They're going to have 40-some
events. How are you going to play them all? You'll burn out.
What do you think about Harrah's adding so many?
I think they're bloodsuckers. They just try to make as much money
as they can. They're wearing everybody out. They shouldn't have
that many tournaments. In the old day - the World Series of Poker
when it was at Binion's - there were like 10-12 tournaments and
everyone was burnt out back then. But now you're talking about
40, almost 50, events - how can people play their A-game? They
get so tired, you know?
Have you cut your schedule back to not overtire yourself?
I have to. It's like going to work and working 15-16 hours every
day. How many days can you do that? For two months, it's almost
You did make it out to the Wynn Poker Classic. I saw you final
tabled at that.
Aw, man. I took the baddest beat - it's true. I had pocket aces
in front of the button, and the big blind had A-K. I raised it.
We both had approximately half a million dollars in chips; I probably
had a bit more. He reraised me like $100,000; I just called. Then
he moved out $300,000 or $400,000 more; I call. The flop comes
Q-T-2 and the next card was a jack. I was looking for a king just
to tie. Unfortunately the king didn't come off, and I lost my
pot. If I had won that pot I would have won the tournament. What
are you going to do?
Did that frustrate you or make you want to go out and look for
It's pretty frustrating. It's just so hard to get down there
and once you do get down, I wasn't playing so-so, I was playing
great. And when you have a hand - pocket aces in Hold'em - if
you're not going to put your money in there with aces, you might
as well not play at all.
Aside from poker you have a lot of business ventures - your poker
room, hotels, dealer school. Is this something that is more interesting
after so many years of playing poker?
I love the business part of it. Poker you can only win so much
and play so much. But in business you can guarantee the money
is going to be in the bank tomorrow - or even today. (Laughs.)
Oh, by the way, I'm doing an energy drink too - Orion Energy
Drink; it's a brand-new thing. And also, we're doing a rap song
for Orion. It's cool. Phil Hellmuth and Layne Flack - we're all
going to be in the video, and they're going to show it on MTV.
Really? Are you going to be doing any rapping?
I'm going to try. But I am going to be in the video.
Do you listen to rap?
Only when I'm playing to keep my mind clear and stay focused.
So I've got a little rap in me.
What about your hotel purchases? Is that bringing you closer
to your dream of opening a casino?
Actually, the place we're buying is a casino-hotel. We've made
an offer already so we'll see where we go from there. I'm very
excited. I'm flying to New York next week and to close the deal
and try to get the $50 million to buy this hotel.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Until May 13, though, Chan will be in British Columbia, headlining
his own tournament and playing to win a piece of the $2.8 million
prize pool. But with the weight of an 11th gold bracelet on his
wrist, time's short until fans will find the two-time champion
in his element: stacking chips at the World Series of Poker.
Please visit our Johnny
Chan Poker Classic page for full tournament details.
Tilt Poker Bonus Code - 100% up to $600
Related: See U.S.
downloaded from the World Wide Web on May 5, 2007:
(Click Here for the Latest Online Poker News Stories)