It's clichéd to say it, but he really needs no introduction. With two World Series of Poker Main Event titles, 10 WSOP bracelets altogether, and over $8.5 million in tourney winnings in a career spanning three decades, his renown in the poker world precludes the need for such.
He's Johnny Chan. And he's here to support the Asia Championship of Poker, which is hard to imagine happening without him.
"I feel good," said Chan as we sat down for a few minutes prior to his taking his seat near the end of Level 2. "I woke up and worked out... I'm ready to go."
Chan was born in the large city of Guangzhou, located along the Pearl River in southwestern China, just a little over 100 kilometers from Macau, in fact. Then as a child he moved with his family to Hong Kong where he lived until the age of 11 when they moved once again to the United States. Thus does coming here to APPT Macau represent something close to a homecoming for the Las Vegas resident.
"Poker is growing here like there's no tomorrow," said Chan, addressing the subject of the game's expansion both in Macau in particular and in Asia as a whole.
"There's the biggest cash game in the world here now, everyone knows about that. All the best players come -- Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, John Juanda, Andrew Robl, myself." But even though the high-stakes games grab most of the attention outside of Macau, Chan insists the game is growing at all levels.
"In five to ten years, Macau will be one of the biggest places in the world for poker," he said, adding also that "PokerStars has a great future in Asia."
As far as Chan's own immediate future is concerned, as mentioned he's playing in the ACOP Warm-Up today, and although he's still sorting out his schedule he may play in the $100,000 (HKD) Main Event as well.
As we were finishing up, APPT President Danny McDonagh stopped by to confirm that Chan had yet to take his seat -- and to ensure Chan had not been an early elimination.
"You're not already out?" he asked, and Chan said no. The President then explained he was asking because of what had befallen Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier who suffered some bad luck earlier today to go out in Level 1.
"No, no... I'm not ElkY!" insisted Chan with a wide grin. "I'm Johnny Chan!"
To which everyone laughed and nodded in agreement. Indeed, no other introduction was needed.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.