Is 3rd Time the Charm for Poker Hall of Fame Nominee John Juanda?

Although the live and online gambling world is brimming with hundreds of thousands of poker players, only a scant few of them have gained universal recognition for their accomplishments. Five-time WSOP bracelet winner and EPT titlist John Juanda is one of them. And if the old cliché is true – ‘the third time’s the charm’ – he may finally find his named engraved among the tablatures of the game’s most esteemed competitors, the Poker Hall of Fame.

Overseen by the World Series of Poker, the Poker Hall of Fame has announced 10 finalists for the 2015 induction ceremony, of which 2 will be voted in as the newest members this year. Juanda will face stiff competition, just as he did when he lost to ‘The First Lady of Poker’, Linda Johnson, in 2011, and Bryan ‘Sailor’ Roberts in 2012.

John Juanda 2015 Poker Hall of Fame FinalistThe 2015 Poker Hall of Fame Finalists include (alphabetically):

Chris Bjorin
David Chiu
Bruno Fitoussi
Jennifer Harman
John Juanda
Carlos Mortensen
Max Pescatori
Terry Rogers      
Matt Savage      
David “Devilfish” Ulliott

While all of these competitors are worthy of their nominations, only two stand out brilliantly among the crowd (IMO) – John Juanda and David “Devilfish” Ulliot. If only one member were being inducted this year, I’d place my money on Ulliot’s name being called, but as it is, I think they’ll both be honored into the Poker HOF come November.

As any follower of the poker community should know, David Ulliot lost a brief and devastating battle with cancer in April of this year. A beloved member of the poker community and genuinely lovable character on the felt, his loss was felt like an electrified shockwave across the globe. His nomination for PHOF was anything but a surprise.

As for Juanda, his multitude of achievements on the felt speak for themselves, but there is more to the Indonesian-born poker pro than meets the eye.

John grew up with a problem gambler for a father. Mr. Juanda tried to instill in them the dangers of gambling, but that didn’t stop John, the oldest of four siblings, from hustling his schoolmates out of their lunch money over a game of marbles.

When he graduated high school at age 19 in 1990, Junada’s parents sent him to the US to continue his education at Oklahoma State. He hadn’t even stepped off the plane before a friend traveling with him on the flight introduced him to poker.

He was instantly intrigued with the game, but kept his eyes on the prize, graduating OSU with dual majors in Marketing and Management, then heading to Seattle to pursue an MBA. During his time on the west coast, his professional poker career budded, starting with a 1st, 3rd and 6th place finish at the 1997 Heavenly Hold’em Series in Los Angeles.

Juanda’s success grew exponentially over the years, earning him 5 WSOP bracelets between 2002 and 2011, including a WSOP Europe Championship in 2008. His most recent major score came at the 2015 European Poker Tour Barcelona, winning the Main Event to scoop his first EPT title.

After more than two decades and $17.25 million in live event cashes, John Juanda is a shoe-in for the Poker Hall of Fame, if not this year, then in the near future. Whether his third nomination will be the charm for the 44 year old poker pro is yet to be seen, but if his odds of induction could be played out on the felt, I’d raise the pot.

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