A charming anecdote illustrates Chris Johansson's start in poker. When only ten years old, he was playing poker with his father and a group of his father's buddies. The game was ten-cent draw poker. His uncle attempted to bluff with a $50 raise. Chris asked his father for a loan. His father said: "Okay. Let this be a lesson to you." Chris won. The lesson seems to have been that he would make a damn good poker player.
Chris played his first tournament in 2000 in Vienna, in the European World Series of Poker Trial, where he placed first in the main event and finished in the money in several others. He says of those victories: "I had only played the Swedish Championships and this trip proved to me that I really could compete against tougher international fields."
Chris Johansson and the 3 key qualities
Chris sharpens his skills by playing online and believes that one can never practice too much, but he does enjoy live tournament tournaments more. The three qualities that he believes most contribute to his success are a good memory, patience, and courage.
The greatest win of Chris' poker career to date occurred in 2003 at the WPT televised championship at the Aviation Club in Paris. Chris was up against some formidable competition including Claude Cohen, Jacques Durand, Alain Hagege, Allen Cunningham and the infamous Australian Tony G. Heads-up found him going against Claude Cohen. The second-to-last hand left Cohen with a mere $30,000 in chips whereas Chris had $832,000. On the next hand, Claude moved all-in with a 10-2. Chris called; his hand was a K-2. No ten was dealt; Chris became the WPT ACF No-Limit Hold'em Champion.
Chris' wife Birgitta is also a poker player. In the 2001 European WSOP four-day trial she finished pretty darn close to Chris. He says: "She has great patience with me playing. She also likes to go with me as often as she can when I'm traveling and that is the best support I could ever have."