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Linda Johnson First Lady of Poker

Linda Johnson

Linda Johnson, nicknamed the First Lady of Poker, has been a leading force in the poker world for much of her life. She began playing poker in the 70s after buying some poker books and teaching herself to play. Linda was immediately enthralled with poker and had a special ability for the game. She entered the World Series of Poker Ladies Seven-Card Stud Tournament in 1980, deciding in advance that if she performed well, she would quit her high-level job at the post office and move to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player. As fate would have it, Linda finished fifth in the tournament and promptly gave her two-week notice. She moved to Las Vegas and played poker full time from 1980 to 1993, one of just a handful of women who played the game professionally during those years.

In 1993, Linda purchased Card Player Magazine. Over the next eight years, the magazine grew from a 68-page, black and white newsprint publication into a 132-page, full-color, glossy magazine. As publisher, Linda became a poker ambassador, traveling to more than 200 card rooms. She has co-written two poker books and was instrumental in helping to establish many influential poker projects including the World Poker Industry Conference, the World Poker Players Conference, and the Tournament Directors Association. Her involvement in promoting poker led to being selected to the Board of Directors for the Poker Players Alliance, the Ladies International Poker Series (LIPS), and the Ladies Poker Association (LPA). She is a partner in Card Player Cruises and has hosted more than 75 poker cruises to destinations around the world.

Although she has won many poker tournaments and has five final-table finishes at the World Series of Poker, Linda’s top poker goal was achieved when she won a gold bracelet in the razz event at the World Series of Poker in 1997. She was the 2005 California State Ladies Poker Champion and the 2006 Orleans Open Woman’s Poker Champion. She was chosen to be a player on the Professional Poker Tour and to be a member of the Queen of Hearts World Series Ladies Team. She was featured on the television show Poker Royale and was the studio announcer for the World Poker Tour in its first six seasons. Linda enjoys teaching WPT Boot Camp and has hosted poker seminars and tournaments at many cardrooms around the country. One of poker’s highest honors was bestowed on Linda when she was selected to receive the Brian Saltus Award, an award given for representing class, dignity, and courage at the poker table. She has been featured in USA Today and many national magazines.

When it comes to respect, Linda is at the top of the poker world!

Linda Johnson was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in November 2011 and the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2008. Linda is only the second women inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame since 1979.