The vibrant city of Las Vegas is a place where dreams are either made or broken and where fortunes change hands with the flip of a card. In this bustling city, one woman rises, carving out a niche for herself in a domain predominantly ruled by men. Yes, we are talking about the remarkable Linda Johnson, a name that resonates with grace, determination, and unparalleled success in the world of poker. Let’s delve deep into the captivating life story of this poker legend, shall we?

A Prelude to Greatness

On a crisp autumn day, October 14, 1953, to be precise, the world welcomed a future poker legend in Long Island, New York. Little did anyone know that this young girl would grow up to revolutionize the poker industry. Before the glitz and glamor of the poker world beckoned, Linda was a diligent worker at the United States Postal Service, but destiny had other plans.


As a young child, Linda visited Las Vegas with her family and was smitten by the allure of blackjack. Soon, under her father’s wise counsel, she realized that poker was the real deal, a game not played against the house but a battlefield of players where one’s wits are the greatest weapon. And thus, began a journey of a lifetime, a journey filled with highs, lows, and unprecedented success.

The Inception of a Poker Career

1974 marked the beginning of an era, an era where Linda Johnson started weaving her magic on the poker tables. With a sparkle in her eye and an unyielding spirit, she embarked on a path less traveled. And boy, did she thrive!


Fast forward to 1997, a year that saw Linda clinching a coveted World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in the $1,500 seven-card razz event. Can you imagine the exhilaration, the sheer joy of holding that bracelet, a testament to one’s skill and perseverance? Linda’s journey was not just about winning; it was about breaking barriers and setting benchmarks as she became just the 3rd woman in WSOP history to win a bracelet in an open event. And her story doesn’t end there.

As of 2010, Linda’s live tournament winnings exceeded $300,000. And sh appeared in the Poker Royale: Comedians vs. Pros series, where she dazzled the audience with her impeccable poker skills and vibrant personality.

A Legacy Beyond the Tables

Now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of her title “The First Lady of Poker”. Bestowed upon her by Mike Sexton, this title is not just a nod to her prowess at the poker tables but a recognition of her extensive contributions to the poker community. Linda Johnson is not just a player; she is an institution in herself.


For eight glorious years, Linda served as the publisher of CardPlayer Magazine, a platform that resonated with every poker enthusiast. Even after selling the company to Barry Shulman, Linda continued to grace the magazine with her insightful articles, a testament to her deep-rooted love for the game.


But Linda’s contributions extend far beyond the written word. She was instrumental in setting up the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), an organization that streamlined and centralized the rules for tournaments like the World Poker Tour (WPT) and World Series of Poker (WSOP). Serving on the Board of Directors of TDA, Linda has been a guiding force, steering the organization.

A Beacon of Philanthropy and Innovation

In the world of poker, Linda Johnson is synonymous with innovation and philanthropy. A founding member of the World Poker Tour, Linda was the voice that echoed through the studios, announcing to the audience for six seasons. Her partnership with Card Player Cruises showcases her innovative spirit, bringing the joy of poker to the high seas.


But Linda’s heart beats not just for poker but for the community at large. In 2009, she co-founded, a non-profit organization facilitating charitable donations from poker players. A most noble initiative.


Then came a moment of recognition, a moment that encapsulated Linda’s monumental contributions to the poker world. In 2011, the Poker Hall of Fame honored Linda as she became just the second woman to enter into the Hall. She was further honored on February 27, 2017 when she was awarded the inaugural WPT Honors Award. Two proud moments that celebrated Linda’s role in shaping the Poker World.

Logo for Poker Hall of Fame, Established 1979

Conclusion: A Journey of Resilience and Triumph

As we traverse through the riveting journey of Linda Johnson, we witness a tale of resilience, triumph, and unparalleled success. A woman who broke barriers, who set new standards, and who continues to inspire generations of poker enthusiasts.


From the vibrant tables of Las Vegas to the high seas with Card Player Cruises, Linda’s journey is nothing short of a blockbuster movie script, filled with moments of joy, triumph, and an undying spirit always striving to achieve more. As we stand here today, we salute Linda Johnson, a woman who not only conquered the poker tables but won hearts with her grace, determination, and philanthropic endeavors.


So, here’s to Linda Johnson, the First Lady of Poker, a beacon of inspiration, and a living legend in the world of poker. May her journey continue to inspire, and may her legacy live on for generations to come.