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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now – Jan Fisher

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

If you’ve been following the “Where Are They Now” series in its entirety, you have seen we’ve written about all kinds of poker players.  We’ve written about the legends, the young guns, and the great ambassadors to the sport (sometimes the subject has fit two of those categories).  Most of the players we have covered have won millions of dollars, multiple bracelets, and the accolades of poker players everywhere, from beginners to the most experienced.  Then, every once in a while, we profile a person who doesn’t fit that description, but has still managed to make the game a better and more enjoyable experience for everyone in a “behind the scenes” kind of way.  Jan Fisher belongs in this last category, but don’t get me wrong, she can certainly hold her own at a poker table as well.  On top of the results listed below, she is a much respected cash game player, and can hang with the “big boys” in any type of poker game offered.

Jan Fisher, born on April 2, 1956, first started having dreams of a life in poker when she was a young adult.  She wanted to leave the Pacific Northwest for an opportunity to do something she never did before, and naturally wound up in Las Vegas, where lots of people do things they had never done before.  Fisher’s first foray into poker came as a dealer.  The year was 1977 and the casino was Foxy’s Firehouse, which has been torn down for nearly a quarter of a century.  She enjoyed dealing a lot and enjoyed the fact she could learn the game while not losing any of her own money.  What she didn’t enjoy was the way dealers were treated by the players, particularly female dealers.  A story Fisher can recall in her early days is of a regular at the casino she worked at urinated on a dealer underneath the table after a particularly bad run of cards.  Of course today this would never be tolerated, and as you will see later Fisher has a lot to with that.  However, in her youth she vowed that if she ever had the means to make the abuse of dealers stop forever, she would.
 
After about five years of dealing Fisher became more interested in playing, and became as what she has described as a “semi-professional,” something she still calls herself today.  She’s had a fair amount of success in tournaments, with a number of four figure scores to her credit.  She has also placed in two WSOP events, finishing 6th in the Women’s Championship in 2001 and 3rd in the Woman’s 7-Card Stud Event in 1988.  As mentioned though, she has always enjoyed cash games better than tournaments, and has reportedly made a fine income as a “semi-professional” player over the last 20 plus years.  She’s placed in the money of a variety of tournaments and her cash game of choice is always changing, depending on her mood.  It also depends on who’s losing the most money - where, and not even necessarily on what type of poker - as she trusts her skill in any and every form of poker.

Fisher isn’t just a poker player, but she’s also a gambler at heart.  She enjoys betting on any and everything, particularly the outcome of reality television shows.  Her favorite show to bet on is Survivor.  While it’s unclear how much she has bet with other people on the show, the sum is most likely not for the faint of heart.  Fisher also enjoys betting on tennis games in which she plays.  Another hobby of hers is traveling around the world and despite seeing nearly everything to see, she still says her hometown of Seattle, Washington is her favorite place in the world.

Fisher has made the biggest impact on the game of poker with her efforts to make the game a more enjoyable experience for all.  On top of noticing the abuse dealers took from players early on in her career, she also noticed the rather haphazard way poker tournaments would often be put together.  Very often, poker tournaments seemed to make the rules up as they went along, changing blind structures without so much as a warning, being a main problem.  Fisher, along with her friends “The First Lady of Poker” Linda Johnson and tournament director extraordinaire Matt Savage, created the Tournament Director’s Association. 

Interestingly enough, up until the early 2000’s no real effort had been made to set a unified set of rules for tournaments to follow.  Since the creation to the TDA, almost every major poker tournament, and most of the daily tournaments in Las Vegas, run much smoother because of the efforts of a concerned few.  The next step for the TDA is to stop dealer abuse, and to also penalize players who are verbally abusive towards others at the table as well.  A lot of tournaments, including the WSOP, have implemented penalties, and the hope of the TDA is that all casinos will follow it soon.  The TDA has a list of nearly 1000 poker room managers and other employees who approve of the TDA and follow all the rules.
 
Along with Johnson, Fisher is one the people who started the idea of “poker cruises.”  Fisher has been on the board of directors for both CardPlayer magazine cruises and the Party Poker “Poker Millions” cruise, both of which have turned in to huge successes, since they first started appearing nearly 20 years ago.  Fisher is also one of the founding members of the charity PokerGives.  It makes it easy for professional players to donate to their favorite charity.  Fisher has also contributed countless articles to Card Player magazine and online websites.

Fisher was inducted into the Women’s Poker Hall of Fame on June 5, 2009, with Mike Sexton emceeing the event.  But, Fisher isn’t seeing this as an opportunity to bow out from helping the world of poker.  In fact, it’s just the opposite, as she hopes by being in the Hall of Fame she will be able to do even more for the poker world.

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