Fisher a winner at, away from table

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Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series dedicated to Women in Poker.

This week, we take a look at another great woman poker celebrity.

In a way, Jan Fisher’s poker career began as a child in Seattle when a family friend introduced her to the game. Some years later, when she was a teenager, her mother took her for a visit to Las Vegas. During her stay, she wandered into the poker room. The game of the day was seven-card stud. Hold’em was just beginning to come into popularity in the casinos. She passed for 21 and sat down at the lowest-limit game available — $1-$3. Two hours later, when she was only 19, she found herself ahead by $800 as she left the table.

Wow! And so she was hooked on poker from then on.

In 1977, she moved to Las Vegas and became a poker dealer. Jan spent 15 years in many of Las Vegas’ top casinos, including the Golden Nugget and the Las Vegas Hilton — her two favorites, the World Series of Poker at Binion’s Horseshoe, El Cortez and the Silver Slipper.

With all that experience, this bright young woman became quite expert in the game and moved on to become a semi-professional player and then into poker management. A significant event in her budding poker career was when she met Linda Johnson. Shortly after that, Linda became the publisher of Card Player magazine and owner of its Card Player Cruises business in 1992. Jan phoned her office to ask if she could go to work for the cruise business.

Jan was a super employee and steadily rose through the ranks to become dealer coordinator, then shift manager, then tournament director and, ultimately, she became a 50/50 partner in Card Player Cruises with Johnson. Meanwhile, Jan and Linda became best friends, traveling the world together. They are active in promoting women in poker and are hosts for the Ladies International Poker Series and the Senior Poker Tour.

Jan enjoys sharing her knowledge of poker with players around the world. She was a WPT Boot Camp instructor for many years and still travels extensively giving seminars at casinos all over the country.

Fisher’s list of poker accomplishments is long. She spent many years directing the semi-annual Eureka Open poker tournament at the Eureka Resort and Casino in Mesquite, Nevada.

She wrote the Poker 101 column for Card Player magazine and a column entitled “Fishing Around” for Poker Player newspaper. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Poker Players Alliance.

Jan realized that an organization was needed to standardize tournament rules and procedures. So, working with Johnson and poker celebrities Matt Savage and David Lamb, she helped to create the Tournament Directors Association in 2001. She has also served as the tournament director for the PartyPoker.com Million.

She feels that poker has provided her with a great life and wonderful opportunities. She puts tremendous value on giving back. With that goal in mind, Jan co-founded Poker Gives, a charitable organization which, starting in 2011, has benefitted U.S. military veterans and other worthy charities. You may have seen her on the Travel Channel as the live studio announcer for the Professional Poker Tour (PPT). Jan served as the statistician for the World Poker Tour during its first six seasons.

With due recognition of her talents and contributions to our poker world, Jan was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in June of 2009. Jan Fisher is a winner! We wish her continued success.

About the Author

George Epstein

A retired engineer, George Epstein is the author of “The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!” and “Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision.” He teaches poker courses and conducts a unique Poker Lab at the Claude Pepper Senior Center under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks and at West Los Angeles College.

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