‘Orient Express’ lands in the Hall

September 17, 2002 6:54 AM
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   Johnny Chan is used to being first. The winner of back-to-back World Championships in 1987 and 1988, Chan is also first in money won all-time at the World Series of Poker.

   Those are just a couple of reasons why the world-class poker last week was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

   In addition to his many accomplishments at the tables, Chan’s also the first poker-playing movie star.

   It was Chan (shown repeatedly on tape trapping Erik Seidel to win his first championship) that Matt Damon idolized in the movie Rounders. To many younger Americans, Johnny Chan may be the only poker player they would be able to name.

   It may come as a surprise that Johnny Chan isn't already in the Poker Hall of Fame. It's not an oversight. It's because Johnny is still so young. Not yet 50 years old, Chan had unusual success very early.

   Always known as one of the finest No-Limit Hold'em players who ever lived, Chan qualifies easily for Hall of Fame membership because he has always taken on all comers.

   Chan has played in the biggest games over the last quarter century. Nicknamed by the pundits as "The Great Wall of China" and "The Orient Express," Chan is also one of the most approachable and well-liked of the world champs.

   In this year's World Series of Poker, Chan won his seventh bracelet to leave him only one behind the legends Johnny Moss and Doyle Brunson. And fittingly, Johnny Chan is the first Asian-American in the Poker Hall of Fame.

   Lyle Berman, fellow Hall of Fame 2002 inductee, introduced Chan before the start of the Championship Event. He reminded the audience that Chan started playing poker at the $2/$4 level. He cautioned all players that if they couldn’t beat that game, they wouldn’t be able to beat $10/$20 and above. So don’t ask him for a stake

   Johnny thanked Berman for the introduction and the Hall of Fame for the "honor.” Then he told the dealers, "Shuffle up and deal."

   Overall, the induction lasted just a few moments, then it was on to the No Limit Hold ”˜Em Championship Event.