Real Women of Poker: Susie Isaacs
Susie Isaacs is a classic example of someone who took something she loves and turned it into her life's work.
Isaacs was born in Nashville, TN and is said to have had her first exposure to poker when she was just four years old.
She stood guard for her brothers while they played poker on a Monopoly board. Once she was old enough to count, she sold her collection of comic books and joined her brothers in the game.
But it wasn't until much later in her life that she took up the game again.
Isaacs and her second husband moved to Las Vegas in 1986 so he could play poker in his retirement.
Isaacs began playing in the ladies tournaments held three times a week around Vegas on a $50 budget.
At the time, she wasn't a serious player and mostly played for the social interaction.
Her marriage unfortunately ended in 1990 and she had to make a decision that would ultimately impact the rest of her life.
She could either give up poker or actually become proficient in the game and continue playing.
Isaacs chose the latter and never looked back.
First Back-to-Back Winner in Ladies Championship History
First, Isaacs learned enough about the game to become a break-even player by reading books and attending a seminar held by WSOP Main Event champ Tom McEvoy.
She improved enough to where she could actually start making money from poker and the rest is, as they say, history.
According to the Hendon Mob database, she won her first poker tournament in 1991 and continued to post strong finishes, including making the final table of both the 1993 and 1994 WSOP Women's 7 Card Stud Event.
The Ladies Stud event then was the equivalent of the Ladies Championship now.
Two years later, Isaacs broke through and took down her first major poker title when she won the 1996 Women's Stud Event for $42,000.
Not to be outdone, the next year she won the event again for $38,000 and to become the first back-to-back winner in WSOP Ladies Championship history.
She didn't win the championship in 1998, but she pulled off a feat that may have been as impressive.
Isaacs finished 10th in the WSOP Main Event out of 350 players, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that she could hang with the big boys of poker.
Hall of Famer, Author and Advocate for Women in Poker
For her career, Isaacs has won at least $440,904 in live poker tournaments although as with many players that started before the poker boom, that number is likely much higher due to the number of events that were not recorded pre-2004.
Anyone that has spent any amount of time at the casinos around Vegas has likely seen Isaacs at the tables.
She is easy to spot as she is a sharp dresser and has an array of stylish hats. She's also one of the friendliest players you will ever play with at the tables.
Isaacs has now authored at least four books about her life in poker including MsPoker: Up Close & Personal and 1000 Best Poker Strategies and Secrets.
She is also a major advocate of women's poker events and still regularly plays in numerous events.
In 1998 Isaacs was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class with Barbara Enright, Linda Johnson and Marsha Waggoner.
She once said in an interview that being inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame was nearly on par with winning her two bracelets.
Susie Isaacs is proof that if you love something enough and are willing to work at it, you can become truly successful.
Hopefully other women that love the game will take her lead and pursue their passion in the same way.
Find Susie's books at her website SusieIsaacs.com and catch up with her current life in Las Vegas on her blog.
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