Every once in a while an event occurs that changes the course of a person's life completely. For John Myung, that event was the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
Myung was living in New York where just days before the attacks he had quit his job at Morgan Stanley on the 73rd floor of the World Trade Center. He had been planning to start up work on Wall Street, but after the attacks he ended up moving to Rockville, Md., instead.
It was there, while he was taking a break from work, that Myung took up poker. He started out in the lower limits with success, and when he moved up in the limits he was having even greater success.
Now several years later he's still cashing in tournaments and successful on the poker circuit.
But as far as Myung's family is concerned, poker is just a "hobby."
Born April 6, 1974, in New York City into a Korean family of doctors, Myung was destined for medical school. Poker wasn't exactly an accepted career path.
And so he went off to study in a pre-med program at Cornell University. After graduating, he should have been off to study medicine, but the thought of four more years of medical school, plus years as a resident, didn't appeal to him.
That's when he took the job at Morgan Stanley in 1999 and the rest is history.
John Myung succesful in poker and in life
Myung started appearing on the poker tournament radar in 2002. At the World Poker Finals that year he took home first place and its accompanying cash in the $500 Limit Hold'em event.
A little more than a year later on Nov. 22, 2003, Myung proved to himself and the rest of the world that poker was where he could, should and would make his living when he won the Showdown at the Sands in Atlantic City.
The $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em event worked out to be a $1 million payday for Myung. A well-earned payday at that, considering he took down a final table featuring T.J. Cloutier, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow and Victor Ramdin.
Success has followed him since then as well, as Myung cashed in many events and came close to both a World Series of Poker bracelet win as well as a World Poker Tour win.
At the WPT Invitational in 2004, he just missed the televised final table when he placed eighth in the tournament. In 2005, He made the $2,000 Limit Hold'em event final table at the WSOP, but was stopped short of a win in third place.
He's been quite successful outside of tournaments as well. He once played a heads-up cash game against Philadelphia Phillies legend Lenny Dykstra where he came out way ahead.
As Myung tells the tale, he beat Dykstra so badly he didn't want to take any money when the ballplayer tried to write him a check. Myung had let Dykstra borrow cash to play him, and he didn't want to take more money from him.
In the end, after the two had hung out and drank a few beers together, Dykstra ripped up the check and gave Myung his Rolex instead, which was worth much more than the check was anyway.
Myung is just as lucky away from the felt where he enjoys snowboarding, golf and spending time at home with his wife in Virginia.