I first met Susie Isaacs right after I bought Card Player magazine. Susie was one of our writers and handled sales for the magazine. I caught up with Susie recently to ask questions for this interview as part of the Outstanding Women In Poker series.
Susie was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has resided in Las Vegas for approximately 25 years. When asked her age, she said she was “old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway.” I hope you enjoy learning more about what makes Susie Isaacs tick.
Linda Johnson: What are your hobbies or interest when not playing poker?
Susie Isaacs: Reading, studying poker, TV, movies, travel
LJ: Do you have children?
SI: I have one son, who is grown and self supporting.
LJ: What is it that you are especially thankful for?
True friends, family, and good health (and an occasional hot streak.)
LJ: Is there an unforgettable gift that you ever received or gave?
SI: I bought a condo a few years back simply so a friend in need could have a place to live. She couldn't live with me because of her cats. When I told her about my plan, you would have thought I had said that I was giving her a million dollars.
LJ: What are your accomplishments outside poker?
SI: Surviving the breakup of my marriage in 1989 was a major accomplishment for me as I had never had to be self sufficient. In mid-life, I had to become independent for the first time in my life. It was that or curl up in a ball and die. Since then, I have five published books, including one novel. I co-own the Mimi Mc Corp. I have three pooches that I adore, and I am very proud of my son.
LJ: What is your educational background?
SI: I have some college, no degrees, but a master at the school of hard knocks!
LJ: What are some of your previous jobs?
SI: I was a writer and sales associate for Card Player magazine from 1988 to 1998 and also wrote for and did sales for Casino Journal from 1998 to 2001.
LJ: What skills or qualities do you have that people would be surprised to know?
SI: I owned a small dance studio when I was 20.
LJ: How did you get your start in poker?
SI: I was suffering from the "empty nest syndrome" when a friend told me about some small buy-in ladies-only tournaments. I made friends, had fun, and fell in love with poker.
LJ: What are some of your top poker accomplishments?
SI: I won the ladies event at the World Series of Poker in 1996 and 1997 and finished in tenth place in the 10K main event in 1998. I’ve had many other wins, places, and shows through the years, including nine times in the money in the Ladies WSOP and twice in the money of the main event. I was also one of the first women in the Women's Poker Hall of Fame.
LJ: Who are some of your poker mentors?
SI: Tom McEvoy, Linda Johnson, and Jan Fisher (seminars and discussions), Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth through spankings at the poker table in major tournaments, and Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, and Dan Harrington through the written word. In the very beginning, George Percy was a mentor.
LJ: Who are your favorite poker players:?
SI: I admire all pros who act like ladies and gentlemen and who are not degenerate gamblers.
LJ: What are your poker goals/ambitions?
SI: I want to continue making enough money to make it exciting and to "pay my way". Another bracelet would be nice as well.
LJ: Do you recall something special you did after you had a big win in poker?
SI: After my 1996 WSOP win, I had a diamond pinky ring made with two red aces, one engraved on each side, as that was the winning hand.
LJ: If you could change one thing in poker what would it be?
SI: All the jackasses, know-it-alls, and young, rude, "pants-on-the-ground" punks would be sent to an island and have to play poker with each other.
LJ: What do you think you will be doing in 10 years?
SI: Hopefully, I’ll still be playing poker and still coming out ahead at the end of each year. The difference is I hope to be able to play anywhere in the world that I take a notion to play and in as many major tournaments as I desire. Right now, I am too conservative with my bankroll to do so.
LJ:What is your favorite place to play poker and why?
SI: On a regular daily basis, I prefer the Venetian because I like their daily tournaments. I also play at the Orleans. They have the best Friday night tournament in town and they have two HORSE tournaments a week. I also like the tournaments at the Aria and the Wynn.
LJ: What is your favorite poker game and limit?
SI: I prefer tournament poker over live games.
Susie, thanks for talking with me today!