Johnnyhaha Riesterer Wins Seat Into WPT World Championship In Las Vegas
Wisconsin'sJohn "Johnnyhaha" Riesterer likes to laugh, and he also likes to play poker. Later this year, Riesterer will take his shot in the $40 million guaranteed $40 million guaranteed World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship after winning a $12,500 WPT World Championship Passport on ClubWPT.
PokerNews caught up with the retired real estate broker to learn how he got his nickname, got into poker and his path to winning a seat in the championship event.
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Q&A w/ Johnnyhaha
PokerNews: Can you tell us a bit about yourself (i.e. age, location, family, education, work, etc.)?
Riesterer: I am 73 years old, live in rural Pulaski, Wisconsin, married for 50 years this month, have 2 sons, John D. and Jesse and three grandsons and one granddaughter. I majored in accounting at UW Milwaukee. I have an LLC with my son, John D. and am a mostly retired Real Estate Broker, I still do some of the accounting for the LLC.
How did you get your nickname?
This is a good one and dates back to the 70s. My friends gave me the nickname Johnnyhaha because I have been known to enjoy life and laugh. a lot.
When and how did you learn to play poker?
My good friend, Larry Jansen, introduced me to poker back in the 70s when we became neighbors and eventually good friends. We would play with his mom, Audry, and other family and friends. I started taking an interest in Texas Holdem in the early 2000s.
"My friends gave me the nickname Johnnyhaha because I have been known to enjoy life and laugh. a lot."
How long have you been a member of ClubWPT and what inspired you to join in the first place?
I believe I joined ClubWPT around 2011 and became a member after the poker Black Friday and have been a member ever since and not one regret.
Have you had any other success of ClubWPT? If so, when and where?
I won the 7 Days to Vegas promotion. As my friend, Larry, got me started with poker, I invited him as my guest. ClubWPT treated us like royalty and up until now, was the highlight of my poker career. We met some of the poker personalities, including Phil Hellmuth, saw the premier of the movie 7 Days to Vegas and had a private tournament where I ended up at the table with Vince Van Patten and his wife. Good times!
Have you ever been to either a WPT event or Las Vegas before? Have you ever played in any other major poker tournaments?
My son, John D., and I played in the first WSOP Colossus in 2015 with a massive field of over 22,000 players. Nobody likes to listen to bad beat stories, so lets just say my pockets aces lost to a one-outer jack to a player with pocket jacks with another person all-in who had ace-jack. I played in the 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship and came in 23rd for a cash payout of $4,885.
Whats your proudest poker accomplishment to date?
The 2017 MSPT was my greatest cash win but in addition to that, a few years ago, Dan Ross with Holdem Radio used to stream the Sunday ClubWPT VIP tournaments which I followed. He then had a group that he had tournaments for and every year the top finishers would play in what he called the Tournament of Champions (TOC).
For three years in a row, I won it and the first two years instead of the first place prize of a custom-made poker table, I took a cash prize. After winning it the 3rd year, I thought that it was an omen that I should have the poker table. I have since built a one-of-a-kind man cave in my 150+-year-old log barn to house the poker table.
Aside from maybe winning, what are you most looking forward to about your upcoming WPT stop? Any poker pros you would like to meet? If so, why would you like to meet them?
Having attended a previous ClubWPT-sponsored event, I already know this is going to be an epic experience. I am part of the ClubWPT Stream Team and there are approximately 60 Stream Team members coming to Vegas all of which I am excited to meet in person. ClubWPT is sponsoring a Happy Hour and a private tournament for us. I really would have liked to meet the real legend, Doyle Brunson and Hall of Famer, Mike Sexton, may they rest in peace.
Which friends and family will be joining you?
My wife hates to fly so she declined my invitation to join me. My son, John D., who lives in Wisconsin and my business partner are joining me, and my son, Jesse, who lives in Colorado with his family will be joining us for three days. We arent able to spend much time together, so this will be a real treat for all three of us.
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*Images courtesy of John Riesterer.
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