Intro – Hello – Linda Johnson, Poker Hall of Fame


“Halo of Fear” (penned a few years back by Al Spath)

The emergence of women in poker has reached an all-time high and has now creating a “Halo of Fear.” If anyone seated at a table has the honor to compete against these ladies, they soon find out that the poker landscape just got a lot tougher. Women are impacting the poker world in greater numbers and have gained respect for their table skills, their contributions to the poker world and their desire to foster further growth in the industry.

For the first time a marriage of convergent interests, including ladies poker tours, ownership of online poker sites and national poker magazine coverage, combined with sustained table successes in major poker competitions (both tournament and cash games), have finally brought attention to the masterful accomplishments of woman in poker. Recent inductees into the new Ladies Poker Hall of Fame are indicative of the inevitable and long overdue move to recognize woman making significant accomplishments in poker:

● Linda Johnson, the ‘First Lady of Poker’;
● Marsha Waggoner, accomplished poker pro;
● Barbara Enright, poker pro and winner of three WSOP bracelets;
● Susie Isaacs, two-time WSOP winner and author of many poker books.

This prestigious field of first time inductees gained access to the new Hall after nominees met the following stringent requirements:

Must have been active as a player or industry leader at some time during a period beginning at least 15 years prior to election.

  1. Must have contributed to the world of poker in some significant way, either by wins/cashes in major tournaments or by making significant contributions to the poker industry.
  2. Must be a proponent of women’s poker. Though not required to play in women-only events, she must support their existence.

Just look at the committee assembled to nominate these first inductees; they are some of the most prominent and successful women in poker: Allyn Jaffrey Shulman, Karina Jett, Suzanne Carter and Maureen Feduniak.

At the tables, we have seen the emergence and sustained accomplishments of top flight woman players who take no prisoners and dish out a beating just as handily as a man while occasionally mixing in a smile (and subliminally displaying a halo) as they drag yet another big pot! These new household names include the likes of Jennifer Harman Traniello, Kathy Leibert, Annie Duke, Mimi Tran, Vanessa Rousso, Cyndy Violette, Kristy Gazes, Beth Shak, Clonie Gowan and Maureen Feduniak ( owner). These are merely a few of the armies of ladies who are ranked high on money lists, have multiple bracelet wins, and enjoy plentiful “Poker Tour” successes.


How have these “ladies” been able to make giant inroads within the poker community and earn the respect of every player at the table? It’s easy; through tenacious and sustained effort. They knew they were in the spotlight and would be “tested” each and every time they entered a pot, so they embraced the challenge and read books, articles, viewed videos, listened to audios, asked questions, utilized mentors, sought peer feedback and went out and gained valuable “experience” at the tables. They are dominating tournaments, appearing on late nite poker television shows and displaying superior poker skills. It’s obvious, some ladies have been playing excellent poker for sometime, but with the growth of poker in recent years and the leveling of the playing field finally defined, women in poker have arrived in mass, and they are here to stay impacting results around the world.

Ladies only events still create some controversy, but the fella’s shouldn’t get their BVD’s in such a wad. First designed to allow ladies to compete against each other to gain valuable experience while developing camaraderie and fostering the social aspects of poker, these events facilitated a cross-over to mixed fields and women are now even more prepared to do battle. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that the ladies only events are not filled with quality players, these women have honed their skills and are just as ruthless at the tables as their male counterparts. For those who use the tired argument that women should not have their own (gender) events, I’d ask you this question: If our wonderful “firefighters” or “police officers” in America had a convention and a poker tournament, where they had to show their shield or badge to enter, do you think they would allow “Joe come lately” to join the event? Hell no, so for those men having issues with ladies only events, get over it and stop trying to play along, you are not invited!

Women have developed their “A” games and can and do compete against top fields (comprised of both men and women) with sustained excellent results. Despite the “halo” effect, these ladies will instill just as much fear (better to call it respect), when they move “all in” as you would feel if Doyle, Daniel or the late great Chip Reese did the same.


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