Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine

Managing Your Big Win at the World Series of Poker

by Linda Johnson |  Published: Jun 19, 2019


I’m writing this column just prior to the start of the World Series of Poker… also known as summer camp for poker players. Las Vegas will be full of seasoned poker players, hometown champs, and poker wannabes looking to make a name for themselves and build a bankroll. While poker is your main reason for coming to Las Vegas, I hope you will be sure to take some time and enjoy all the city and the surrounding area have to offer.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you win a bracelet and suddenly have more money than you’ve ever had in your life. What are you going to do? Here are a few pearls of wisdom from somebody who has been involved in the poker world for many, many years.

1. When you make a big score, you will suddenly have “friends” coming out of the woodwork to congratulate you. Oh and by the way, some if them may be in need of a little short term loan. 

You will hear sob stories from people who need some money to pay for a miracle operation that will save someone’s life. You will get requests from “great players” who are down on their luck. You will hear stories from players who are expecting an influx of money tomorrow and “will pay you back within 24 hours.” Don’t fall for it. It doesn’t make you a bad person to say no. 

I have probably heard every bad beat story in the book. I loaned money the first 10 years I was in the poker world and I learned my lesson the hard way. Over and over again, I was disappointed when players did not pay me back. Many people will take advantage of the naive, and even people with good intentions will often not be able to pay you back. Don’t be a target! If you have to, practice looking in a mirror and saying no. It gets easier the more you do it.

2. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the moment.

3. Don’t make any quick life-changing decisions. 

4. Don’t make any big purchases immediately after making a big score.

5. Don’t jump into the biggest cash game you can find. It’s definitely okay to risk a small percentage of the money you have won, but I have seen far too many players lose their entire bankrolls by playing in games that were out of their league. And definitely don’t go play too high in the casino in games where you do not have an advantage. I have seen lots of winning poker players go broke in the pit or in the sports book.

6. Hire a reputable professional financial advisor to help you make investment decisions. 

7. Don’t forget to put money aside to pay your taxes.

I’m planning to play in a few tournaments this year, but will probably spend must of my time playing cash games at the Rio. If you see me, stop and say hello. I love to meet my readers.

Change of topic: I predict that we will see some great female players emerge at the 2019 WSOP. Over the past years, I have enjoyed mentoring women from all over the country. 

In the included photo, I am participating in an annual retreat with some amazing women from the Northwest. I’m lucky to be involved in ladies events around the country. Women are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the poker world.

Card Player Cruises just announced a poker cruise with a ladies-only main event. It is scheduled for April 26, 2020, on the beautiful Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston, Texas. Our ports will be Roatan (where you can hold a sloth!) Costa Maya, and Cozumel. You will be able to enjoy beautiful beaches in all of the ports.

The most exciting news is that this cruise will fit any budget. Starting prices are $559 plus tax for a seven-night vacation. Please call my office at 888-999-4880 to book your cabin. This cruise will certainly sell out. We also have cruises to Alaska, the Holy Land, New England, the Caribbean, and other ports, so check us out at If not now, when? ♠

Linda JohnsonLinda Johnson is WSOP bracelet holder and a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and WPT Honors. She is also a partner in Card Player Cruises. You can contact her at