Lorna Johnson Dreams of A WPT Final Table

Feb 22, 2016


The even playing field and chance of dreams becoming a reality is part of what makes the game of poker beautiful. It’s just a matter of how well you use the opportunities given to you, and Lorna Johnson looks to make the most of it in the game that’s becoming more and more serious for the recreational player from Toronto.

When we asked Johnson what her ultimate poker dream looked like, she hesitated, “I probably shouldn’t even say that.”

As she gazed at the room filled with poker tables she then said, “I would like to be at the final table of a World Poker Tour event, and I told my daughter that back in 2008.”

“We were watching a WPT episode on TV I had already seen and she asked, ‘You’ve already seen this one, why are we watching it again? – ‘Because I’m learning stuff every time,’ I said to her, ‘One day I will be on that program’ and that was back in 2008. I want to fulfill that, so I can say to her ‘I told you so, I did it!'”

Having learnt how to play 15 years ago in an office game, she started playing more seriously about two years ago when she was recovering from a total knee replacement.

“I was working at an ad agency and they had a weekly tournament, and I just wanted to get in there and meet people. The first time I played, they took me out right away, and I went to the bank machine to get more money to play again. They took that money from me right away again, and I thought to myself, ‘That’s not gonna happen again next week.'”

Johnson learned the game bit by bit, but it wasn’t until she recovered from a full knee replacement that she had the time and opportunity to take the game more seriously.

“There’s only so much Netflix that you can watch,” Johnson laughed, “So I started playing more online, and then I saw this tournament – which is in my neighborhood – and I made it here.”

This year was Johnson’s second attempt at battling with some of North America’s finest players, but her first experience in 2015 left a sour taste in her mouth.

“I was so starstruck last year, and a little bit intimidated by everybody that I didn’t do really do well. I thought, ‘I’m gonna come back next year and do better than I did last year,’ and I have so far.”

While the Main Event didn’t go as planned – Lorna busted out on Day 1 – she’s currently playing one of the side events in the big ballroom at Fallsview Casino.

“It’s been a great experience this year, I’m really enjoying this,” Johnson said, “I learned that I have a good read on people. I busted out to a new person that sat down at the table, and I didn’t really have time to get a read on him – and he found pocket aces – which helped his cause a little bit. I do think that this is something I can do a lot more in the future.”

While Johnson considers the game to be a “serious hobby,” she’s excited to try the game as a semi-pro in the future if time allows it, and perhaps her friends and family will then also understand that this is more than just a game to her.

“For the most part they just get this glazed look,” Johnson said with a smile about talking about poker to her family, “They smile and they nod, because they don’t really understand what I’m saying, but my sister’s fiancee is a poker player, so whenever I have a bad beat, or a good day, I call him and he explains it to my sister.”

While fulfilling her dream might still be years away, explaining what it means when she finally gets there won’t be hard. Her dream of making a World Poker Tour final table is very much alive for someone who tries hard, works hard and plays hard, and it looks like Johnson is well on her way to one day sitting in one those highly coveted six seats.

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