Born in Long Island, New York in 1953, Linda Johnson moved every three years as a child due to her father’s military career. After high school, Linda worked at the Post Office and quickly moved up through the ranks. When she turned 21, Linda began traveling to Las Vegas and playing blackjack. Her father convinced her that if she wanted to gamble, she should learn to play poker since it was the one game that was not played against the house and was beatable.
Teaching herself to play, she began playing in a weekly game with her co-workers from the Post Office. Winning constantly, Linda began visiting the card rooms in Gardena, Ca and played draw poker, then again traveling to Vegas to play Seven-Card Stud and Texas Hold’em. Knowing she had a special ability for the game, Linda entered the World Series of Poker Ladies Seven-Card Stud tournament in 1980 and placed fifth. Promptly quitting her day job, Linda became a professional poker player for the next twelve years.
In 1992, Linda went on the first Card Player Poker Cruise. After approaching Card Player’s owners, she learned that the magazine was for sale. Linda and two others soon bought it and have turned the black and white publication into a 132-page glossy magazine. Retiring as publisher in 2000, Linda and her friends purchased Card Player Cruises from the magazine and has hosted more than sixty poker cruises around the world.
Linda has helped establish many poker related projects including the World Poker Industry Conference, the World Poker Players Conference, and the Tournament Director’s Association.
A few years ago Linda, Mike Sexton, and Steve Lipscomb were in Costa Rica discussing the possibility of a televised poker tournament. They secured financing for this idea, and the World Poker Tour was born. Linda is currently the studio announcer for the WPT, and still plays poker as often as possible.
Linda is often referred to as the First Lady of Poker.