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John Juanda: Macau Games Getting Too High Even For Me
With over $12 million in career live tournament earnings and a name recognizable in every poker room in the world, John Juanda has nothing left to prove in poker.
Still, every time you check the chip counts at a major tournament it seems he’s deep in the mix, staring down another final table.
Five more deep runs at the WSOP this summer plus a top-six stack heading into Day 5 tomorrow at EPT Barcelona are just the latest in a career that will go down as one of the best ever.
Juanda took a few moments to speak with PokerListings in Barcelona today about his newfound freedom playing EPTs, his sponsorship potential with the new FTP, his dislike for Vegas games, his new home in Tokyo and his degeneracy at the nosebleed stakes in Macau.
PokerListings: Day 4 at the EPT Barcelona. Another deep run. How is it going today?
John Juanda: So far, so good. Actually, so far, so very good. I started with a little under a million, and I’m already up to almost one and a half. So until now, it feels great today.
PL: A couple of years ago you won the WSOPE main event. Is it time for another big title in Europe?
JJ: Well, it doesn’t hurt to try. Actually, the EPT events are some of my favorites. The EPT takes very good care of their players.
In the past, I wasn’t able to play them because I was representing Full Tilt, and they always came up with some ridiculous reason to not let us play.
PL: When Full Tilt comes back in November, would you be interested in representing them again?
JJ: Well, it would of course depend on the terms and conditions.
I did enjoy playing on FT, I love the software, it’s really nice on the eyes, the games were really fast, and they used to have the limits that I enjoy playing.
PL: You've recently moved to Tokyo. Why's that?
JJ: I’ve always enjoyed the food and the hospitality. I have a couple of friends there, too. It’s just a fantastic city.
So, instead of going there 10 times a year, which I did, I thought I just might get as well a place there and move there.
PL: So is Tokyo going to be the center of your life in the future?
JJ: For now, yes. But then of course, you never know. I’ve been living out of my suitcase for half of my life, so, you never know.
PL: What about the center of your poker life. Is Macau taking over from Vegas?
JJ: Actually, I’ve never played that much in Vegas. I never really enjoyed playing there. The attitude of the players is just so different from Macau.
You know, if you play deep, you can lose a lot of money in one hand. In Vegas, people would lose a hand, and then behave like kids, sometimes even like animals.
People would blame the dealers or even try to start a fight between each other. I’ve been there a couple of times, and fights break out there almost on a daily basis.
PL: And that doesn’t happen in Macau?
JJ: Not at all. And you have to know, that in Macau, the games are a lot higher than in Vegas, so players win and lose a lot more money, but still the players always behave like gentlemen.
So, I enjoy playing there a lot more. Also, it’s closer to where I live now, of course.
PL: So the games are higher in Macau. What stakes are we talking about?
JJ: The normal game would be 10k/20k HKD, which is roughly $1300/$2600 USD. Plus antes. And then there are almost always straddles, sometimes two or three live straddles.
There are some really wealthy guys playing there. Depending on who is in the game, it can get even higher.
PL: And what would be the regular game in Vegas?
JJ: The regular games would be 3k/6k or 4k/8k in Limit games, and in No Limit games they usually play 500/1000, or sometimes 1000/2000, but there would be a $100,000 cap, so in one hand you can’t lose more than a hundred thousand dollars.
In Macau, there can already be $100,000 in the pot with all the live straddles.
PL: There is no cap in Macau.
JJ: There is no cap in Macau. Sometimes I feel that the games are getting too high even for me. But I play anyway. I’m a degenerate.
Check our full EPT Barcelona Day 4 recap for the latest on Juanda's exploits on Day 4.