Most players would always remember and recall Berry Johnston as the perfect gentleman, something you rarely see at a poker table. But this family man had the perfect etiquettes both on and off the table.
Berry had two dreams which he did manage to fulfil; one was to make a living out of poker and second to be the world champion. The first dream was achieved very early in his career while the second one came in 1986 when he became the WSOP main event champion taking home a prize of $570,000. Many argue that there was a third dream that he always had which was being in the Poker Hall of fame but Berry always shied away from admitting this one. Nevertheless the third dream was also achieved by this grand old man of the poker tables in 2004.
This veteran of poker, born in 1935 in Bethany, Oklahama shifted to Las Vegas to pursue his poker dream and made quite a name starting the 1980’s. He finished third in the main WSOP event in 1982 and never looked back. 1983 saw him winning his first WSOP bracelet in the $2,500 Match play event. However, nothing compares to 1986 when he became the world champion and took home the 1st place prize of $570, 000 and the main event bracelet.
His third bracelet came in 1990 in the $2,500 Limit Hold ‘em event and the fourth one in 1995 in the $1,500 Limit Omaha Tournament. He had to wait for six years for his fifth when he took home the gold bracelet in the $1,500 Razz. Apart from these he also holds the distinguished records of being 3rd and 5th in the 1982 and 1990 World Series.
At the same time Berry was also cashing in on other tournaments like The Triple Crown of Poker and the Grand Prix of Poker where he cashed in four times in 1986. As a tribute to all these feats, Berry was a Poker Hall of Fame inductee in the year 2004. One of the biggest criteria of this is that the player should have played well consistently against top competition and gained the respect of his fellow gamblers, Berry certainly had done both.
He also holds the amazing achievement of cashing in more WSOP main events than any other player. And there mustn’t be any poker player on the circuit who doesn’t speak highly of this kinda and skilful person. Always holding all his fellow players in the highest esteem, Berry made more than 30 WSOP final tables.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Numbers’, many poker pros have spoken highly of him. Doyle Brunson once said, “What I admire most about Berry is not Berry the great poker player, but Berry the man. He is a deeply religious and devoted family man, who has always been a gentleman at all times."
Berry was always known to follow complete poker etiquettes shaking his opponents before and after the game, greeting everyone and maintaining complete calm in the most tense of situations. There is a popular story that is often talked of by poker players on the internet. This happened in 1985 in the WSOP final table. Bill Smith had a clear edge over Berry and T.J Cloutier. Then came a critical time when both, Berry and Cloutier were all in before flop. Soon it became clear that Berry was going to lose the hand. Ultimately he got up, shook the players’ hands and wished them good luck. Then he walked up to his wife who asked him to accompany her for food. Without a touch of emotion he smiled and went for refreshments with her. Such is the cool and calm attitude of this great poker pro. Now Berry is 73 years old and plays online at Full Tilt Poker.
Common Misspellings: Berry Johnson, Berry Johnsten, Barry Johnston
Learn more about Berry Johnston at Full Tilt Poker.
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