One of the founding members of Team Full Tilt, is an successful and talented poker professional born in 1971 in Indonesia. He came to the US in 1990 when he took to athletes and getting an education.
In high school Juanda was a track star and he moved on to get an MBA from Seattle University. With more than 100 tourney cashes, four WSOP bracelets, and almost $10 million in tournament cash, he’s one of the world’s best.
Born the oldest of four children, he was favored, as was typical of his family’s culture. He spent much of his childhood with his grandparents so his parents could work and get their business up in another city. His father liked to gamble and drink and warned his son not to follow in his footsteps. Despite his father’s advice, he played marbles for cash in elementary school, but that was the extent of his gambling activity until he got his first taste of poker on a flight to the US where he’d attend college.
A lifelong Buddhist, young Juanda made a killing during college selling bibles. He’d play poker on the weekends at local casinos where he realized where the real money was. It eventually got to where he’d play for 12 hours straight and go home to sleep, all the while he couldn’t wait to get up and play again. Shortly after graduating, he decided to become a professional full-time poker player.
Juanda won his first WSOP bracelet in 2001, two more in 2003, and another in 2008. In 2006 he won the Speed Poker Million Dollar Challenga and was runner up in the 2002 Player of the Year race. In 2008 he won the WSOPE, taking home $1.5+ million, but these are only a handful of his accomplishments—he has 11 pages of tournament cash results on cardplayer.com, many of which are first place victories or at least final table finishes.
Juanda is a consistent winner, something that is rare in poker professionals. Many successes come and go, but few can hang in there for the long haul and steadily improve their game year after year after year. And he’s actually invested some of his winnings, so he’s just smart all around. He’s one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and is as level-headed as anyone, though he is not a push over. He maintains a level of self-control via Buddhism and his philosophy follows:
"I try my hardest to win, but I respect everyone I play with, and when I lose, I don't get upset. One of the teachings of Buddhism is to have a sense of balance. I take satisfaction in doing my best and don't have overly high expectations."