Linda Johnson, aka The First Lady of Poker, has been a leading force in the poker world for much of her life. Think you know everything about the game? Well, think again, if you don’t know who this powerhouse of a woman is.
Why “The First Lady of Poker”? She was so dubbed by the late poker guru Mike Sexton who recognized her long association with the game and many contributions to the poker world.
Originally from Long Island, Johnson first worked for the U.S. Postal Service and often travelled to Las Vegas where she enjoyed playing blackjack. In fact, it was her father, a career member of the U.S. military, who encouraged her to play poker.
Her poker career began in n1974 and she had many successes, including winning the California Ladies Poker Championship. However, her poker dream came true in 1997 when she won her first bracelet in the World Series of Poker in the $1,500 seven-card razz event. From there, she moulded her career in such a way that she went on to become one of the most memorable women in poker. So much so, that in 2017, the World Poker Tour (WPT) selected her for its inaugural WPT Honors Award, recognizing her outstanding contributions to the WPT, as well as the greater poker community.
Linda Johnson even became the owner of CardPlayer magazine, including the Card Player Cruises. After working as the publisher of the magazine for 8 years, Johnson sold it to its current owner, Barry Shulman. She continues to write poker columns for them. Meanwhile, she retained the Card Player Cruises business which she operates with her business partner Fisher.
Now, well into its 20s, the Cruises have hosted some of the most famous poker player in the world: Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Sexton, Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, and many others.
Talking about her other accomplishments, Johnson was also responsible for forming the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) to establish common rules for tournaments such as the WPT. She continues to be involved with the TDA, serving on its Board of Directors.
Johnson was also one of the founders of the World Poker Tour and served as the announcer to the audience for its first 6 seasons. Back in 2009, she helped to form PokerGives.org, a non-profit organisation that makes it easier for poker players to donate to charities.
All of this and more makes Linda Johnson a force of reckoning and a leading name in the poker industry. She has well earned the title of “The First Lady of Poker.”