As the sixth season of the World Poker Tour comes to a close with its season-ending WPT World Championship at Bellagio, some have noticed that Linda Johnson is no longer announcing the WPT final tables. It has been confirmed that Johnson and the WPT have parted ways.
Rumors started to fly behind the scenes and among some members of the media that Johnson left the WPT over a contractual dispute, the details of which will remain off the record. Going directly to the two parties, statements were obtained about the amicable end to the business relationship.
Steve Lipscomb, President, CEO, and founder of WPT Enterprises, stated, “Over the past few seasons on the World Poker Tour, tournament directors have begun playing a much bigger role in calling the final table action at events. While we continue to work with Linda in many other ways, we no longer require an announcer to travel to each stop on the tour. Linda Johnson has been a very important part of the World Poker Tour since the beginning. We wish her well and look forward to many years sharing together the best the poker community has to offer.”
Linda Johnson said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my six seasons with the World Poker Tour and the opportunities it afforded me to travel, meet many wonderful people, and have an impact on televised poker. I am looking forward to having more free time to enjoy some of my favorite activities such as travel, dancing, playing poker, and working to raise money for charity.”
The “First Lady of Poker” began playing poker in the early 1970’s. Her successes in the game are numerous, including a 1997 World Series of Poker bracelet in the $1500 seven-card razz event. She was the publisher of CardPlayer Magazine for eight years, where she still maintains a regular column. Her work in establishing the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) has been one of her most respected accomplishments, and she still serves on the TDA’s Board of Directors. In addition to all of her other responsibilities, she is one of the organizers of CardPlayer Cruises.
Johnson worked with Lipscomb when he first developed the idea of the World Poker Tour, and she was an integral part of the company’s growth and development. For the majority of the first six seasons, she could be seen calling the action at the televised final tables. Though she will no longer be working in that capacity, with the exception of the upcoming WPT Ladies Championship at the Bellagio on April 25th, she will surely not be a stranger to any poker room, tournament, or poker function.