John Juanda is a professional poker player who was born and raised in Indonesia. Nicknamed "JJ", he is one of the top poker professionals in the game today.
Juanda comes from humble beginnings, from a working class family in Medan the capital of the North Sumatra province in Indonesia. He lived with his grandparents at the start of his life as he parents moved away to start a business.
Juanda's father and grandparents warned him of evils of gambling, but that did not stop young John. He was playing marbles and card games for money as early as elementary school. Juanda was also a gifted athlete, running track, excelling at both sprinting and long distance running. He was also a gifted student and wanted to attend the United States for his higher education.
In 1990, he went to the United States to go to college at Oklahoma State University. It was during this time he learned the game of poker from a friend. Juanda played poker throughout college where he graduated with a degree in marketing and business management. In love with the game, he still kept his studies first. He went on to earn an MBA from Seattle University shortly after. After finishing his extensive schooling, he worked as a bible salesman and traded stocks before he made enough to play poker full time.
In his first World Series of Poker, Juanda cashed and made the final table of his first two events. That run started one of the most consistent tournament careers that poker has ever seen. He won his first WSOP bracelet in 2002, in a triple-draw lowball tournament. He won two more bracelets the next year and was runner up in Card Player's Player of the Year race.
He has cashed in a hundred plus tournaments as of 2013 and has won over $14.9 million in tournament cashes. He currently has six WSOP bracelets and over 60 in the money finishes.
He currently resides in California, but travels frequently around the world spending a lot of time in Japan and playing in high stakes cash games in Macau. His most recent big win was a 2nd place finish in a 2012 WSOP Europe No Limit event in which he placed 2nd for €600,000.