Bio and Strategy of Five Times World Series of Poker Bracelet Winner John Juanda
With 33 career titles and more than $24 million in prize money to his name, John Juanda’s name is one that simply must come up when discussing the best players in the game.
His five World Series of Poker bracelets are only the start of his tournament track record. The Indonesian born player has ironically claimed the name ‘Luckbox.’ This is a reference to the perception that cards have been kind to him at key moments. However, those 33 wins can put paid to the notion that any luck is involved.
This page looks at Juanda’s WSOP record, other tournament successes and his key poker skills.
John Juanda at the World Series of Poker
Juanda’s first ever success at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) came in 2002. He entered the Triple Draw Ace to Five with a buy-in of $1,500. This event had a small field of just 88 players. He won the tournament by beating Paul Phillips heads up and claimed the $49,000 first prize.
For many, a WSOP win would be one of their biggest wins in terms prize money. But Juanda has more than 60 wins with a larger prize.
Second and Third Bracelets
The following year saw Juanda claim his second and third bracelets. The first came in the $2,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split event. He would win the final table that included Huck Seed and eventually win out heads up against Shawn Sheikhan. This win, against 139 other players, saw him pocket $130,000.
He followed this up just two weeks later by winning the Pot Limit Omaha w/Rebuys with a $2,500 buy-in. This time he faced both Phil Ivey and Chris Ferguson at the final table, before winning against O’Neil Longson. Another increase in prize money saw him claim the $203,000 first prize. Unfortunately for Juanda, there was no Player of the Year award in 2003, as he would have been in the reckoning (this award first appeared in 2004).
Main Event and WSOP Europe for John Juanda
Juanda’s best run in the main event came in 2005. He finished 31st in a field of 5,619 players to claim a prize of $274,000. Joe Hachem won the event.
In 2008 Juanda played in the World Series of Poker Europe at the main event with a £10,000 buy-in (around $18,000). 362 players lined up and Juanda was the last man standing, pocketing a win of more than $1.5 million beating Stanislav Alekhin heads up (Daniel Negreanu also made the final table).
The latest bracelet in Juanda’s career came in 2011 at the $10,000 2–7 Draw Lowball Championship event. This time around he faced the legendary Phil Hellmuth heads up and claimed the $367,000 first prize and his fifth piece of silverware.
Other Tournament Successes for John Juanda
As well as the WSOP Europe success, Juanda has enjoyed three other seven figure wins in his career. The first came in the 2012 Macau High Stakes Challenge Super High Roller event. This had a huge $257,000 buy-in, which also included rebuys. Juanda would finish 5th and take home a check for $1,645,000.
In 2015 he won his only European Poker Tour event in Barcelona. He beat 1,693 other players to claim the first prize of $1,186,000, beating Steve Warburton heads up.
The biggest cash win of his career came in 2017, when he won the HKD 1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the Triton Super High Roller Series. 83 players paid the $128,000 buy-in and Juanda outlasted them all. He beat Fedor Holz heads up to claim the $2.9 million first prize.
Strategy: Poker Playing Style of John Juanda
John Juanda encompasses a brilliant mix of poker skills, that all come together to make him one of the most successful players on the circuit. Reading his opponents is one of his key skills. He has that ability to both instinctively feel what his opponent is on, with the backing of the math behind it.
Juanda is also an unpredictable player, able to make aggressive moves at any time, making those who are trying to read him second guess regularly. By staying unpredictable, he maximizes the opportunities for opponents to make costly mistakes.
Quick Bio: About John Juanda
Juanda was born in Medan, North Sumatera, Indonesia in 1971. His first love was athletics, where he became a track star in his homeland, racing from 200 meters to 5,000 meters. In 1990 he headed to the US to enroll at Oklahoma State University. He later earned an MBA from Seattle University. It is said that he first encountered poker on his flight over to the US.
Today Juanda resides in Tokyo and is currently on a sabbatical from the game since the Covid virus hit. In 2015 he was selected to be in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Could You be the Next WSOP Champion?
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Image credit: Wikipedia, with a little help from free picture editor Canva.