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Poker Lifestyle.

John Juanda

Despite being known as one of the nicest players in poker, John Juanda shows no mercy when he’s at the table. His $6 million career earnings and his current standing atop the ‘Power Rankings’ of leading U.S. poker magazine, Bluff, prove that JJ – as he is affectionately known – is no Mr. Nice Guy come gameday.

After learning to play poker on a flight across to the United States from his native Indonesia, John hasn’t looked back. He started playing full time in 1996 and it wasn’t long before he started to make his presence felt. In 1999, he played his first World Series of Poker tournaments, finishing in the top 10 both times. Then in 2001, John picked up his first career tournament win at the Jack Binion World Poker Open.

2002 proved to be John’s breakout year – he won two out of the 22 tournaments in which he competed and made several other final tables. That year, John also claimed his first WSOP bracelet in the Triple Draw, Lowball Ace to Five Event. To round out his brilliant 2002, John took was awarded the ‘Tournament Champ of the Year’ award.

The biggest win of his sterling career came in 2004 when John placed 1st out of a field of 134 at the inaugural Professional Poker Tour. He took less than five hours at the final table to claim the $200,000 prize, which won him a spot at the World Poker Tour championship. Incredibly, that year John also made another 15 final tables!

His trailblazing ways continued in 2005 when he pockted nearly $500,000 in two fruitful days at the Monte Carlo Millions (6th place) and the Fulltiltpoker.net Invitational (2nd place).

Now a member of the illustrious poker crew at Full Tilt Poker alongside Phil Ivey et al, John has become one of the most respected and revered competitors on the tour. His impressive collection of three ‘Best All Round Player’ awards serves as testament to his enormous natural ability and skill.

The rise and rise of JJ should come as no surprise – the holder of a double BA in Marketing and Management from Okalahoma State, John’s long held ambition is to study medicine and to provide healthcare in the third world.

Pundits are tipping JJ to challenge strongly for the 2006 WSOP title and other key tournaments. We at GOM also believe that John can go all the way this year – Watch this space!

WPT World Championship 2006

In April, the best poker players in the world will go head-to-head in the illustrious World Poker Tour World Championship at the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas. Now in its fourth year, the WPT World Championship is becoming known as the biggest prize in poker. The six day Texas Hold’em extravaganza will culminate in the live broadcast of the final table on the Travel channel on April 24.

With an entry fee of $500 and a buy-in of $25,000 the WPT Championship is not for the faint-hearted but may well be worth the investment considering the huge prize fund on offer. Last year, Las Vegas native, Tuan Lee, walked away with the $2, 856,150 after a seven hour final that was watched live at the Bellagio by several hundred people, among them legendary Hollywood actor Robert Duval.

However, it’s not just professional players like Lee who have performed well in years gone by. Last year’s runner up, Paul Maxfield, was an amateur player from Stoke on Trent in the United Kingdom pocketed over $1.5 million for his efforts.

It’s with hopes of a similar payday that players who have been competing in satellite qualifying tournaments are dreaming of. Many satellite tournaments offer a luxury package to the WPT event including: travel, spending money and the buy in fee. Entry to satellite tournaments can be found at Bodog.com, Everest Poker and Canbet.com along with many other betting websites.

The venue for the WPT event, the Bellagio, is one the most luxurious hotels on the famed Las Vegas strip and is renowned for its amazing fountain shows. The hotel also features 20 restaurants, botanical gardens and a fine art gallery. However, the Bellagio is perhaps best known in the public consciousness as one of the hotels George Clooney et al robbed in the box-office smash Ocean’s Eleven.

On the April 24 somebody else will also be walking out of the Bellagio, but this time let’s hope the guns fall silent.
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