“Johnnyhaha” Riesterer wins seat at the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas

John Riesterer

Wisconsin John “Johnnyhaha” Riesterer loves to laugh and also likes to play poker. Later this year, Riesterer will take his chance on the $40 million guarantee World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship. after winning one WPT World Championship Pass worth $12,500 At ClubWPT.

PokerNews caught up with the retired real estate agent to learn how he got his nickname, got into poker and the journey he took to earn a spot in the championship event.

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Questions and answers with Johnnyhaha

PokerNews: Can you tell us a little about yourself (e.g. age, location, family, education, work, etc.)?

Riesterer: I am 73 years old, live in rural Pulaski, Wisconsin, have been married 50 years this month, have two sons, John D. and Jesse, and three grandchildren and one granddaughter. I studied accounting at UW Milwaukee. I have an LLC with my son John D. and am a mostly retired real estate agent. I still handle some of the bookkeeping for the LLC.

How did you get your nickname?

This is a good example and dates from the 70s. My friends gave me the nickname Johnnyhaha because I am known for enjoying life and laughing…. a lot.

When and how did you learn to play poker?

My good friend Larry Jansen introduced me to poker in the 1970s when we became neighbors and eventually good friends. We played with his mother Audry and other family members and friends. I became interested in Texas Holdem in the early 2000s.

“My friends gave me the nickname Johnnyhaha because I’m known for enjoying life and laughing… a lot.”

How long have you been a member of ClubWPT and what inspired you to become a member in the first place?

I think I joined ClubWPT around 2011 and became a member after Poker Black Friday. I’ve been a member ever since and haven’t regretted it once.

Have you had any other successes at ClubWPT? If yes, when and where?

I won the “7 Days to Vegas” promotion. When my friend Larry introduced me to poker, I invited him as my guest. ClubWPT treated us like royalty and was the highlight of my poker career so far. We met some of the poker personalities including Phil Hellmuthsaw the premiere of the movie 7 Days to Vegas and hosted a private tournament where I sat at the table Vince Van Patten and his wife. Good times!

John Riesterer
John Riesterer with Vince Van Patten and Phil Hellmuth

Have you ever been to a WPT event or in Las Vegas? Have you ever participated in other major poker tournaments?

My son John D. and I played in the first WSOP Colossus in 2015 with a huge field of over 22,000 players. Nobody likes to listen to bad beat stories, so let’s say my pocket aces lost to a one-outer jack to a player with pocket jacks while another person was all-in and had ace-jack . I competed in the 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship and finished 23rd for a cash payout of $4,885.

What is your proudest poker achievement to date?

The 2017 MSPT was my biggest money win, but I went beyond that a few years ago And Ross with Holdem radio Streamed the Sunday ClubWPT VIP tournaments I was following. He then had a group for which he organized tournaments, and every year the first place teams played in what was known as the Tournament of Champions (TOC).

I won three years in a row, and the first two years I won a cash prize instead of the grand prize of a custom poker table. After I won it the third year, I thought it was an omen that I should have the poker table. Since then, I have built a unique man cave to house the poker table in my 150+ year old log barn.

John Riesterer
John Riesterer in his man cave

Aside from perhaps winning, what are you most looking forward to in your upcoming WPT stop? Are there any poker pros you would like to meet? If so, why would you like to meet her?

Having attended a previous event sponsored by ClubWPT, I already know this will be an epic experience. I’m part of the ClubWPT stream team and there are about 60 stream team members coming to Vegas, all of whom I’d like to meet in person. ClubWPT sponsors a happy hour and a private tournament for us. I would really like to know the real legend, Doyle Brunson and Hall of Famer, Mike Sextonmay they rest in peace.

Which friends and family will be joining you?

My wife hates flying, so she declined my invitation to come along. My son John D., who lives in Wisconsin, and my business partner are joining me, and my son Jesse, who lives with his family in Colorado, will be joining us for three days. Since we can’t spend much time together, it will be a real pleasure for all three of us.

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Find out how you can win a $12,400 WPT Passport to the WPT World Championship in December

*Image courtesy of WPT.

*Images courtesy of John Riesterer.


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