Linda Johnson was born in 1953 in Long Island, New York. Before becoming involved in poker, Johnson worked for the United States Postal Service and traveled to Las Vegas regularly to play blackjack. Her father, a career service member, convinced her that playing poker was the best way to gamble as it was not played against the house.
Johnson is known as "The First Lady of Poker", a phrase coined by Mike Sexton due to her lengthy association with the game, in particular the World Poker Tour (WPT) as she explains in the Ladies Night episode of WPT Season 6.
She worked as the publisher of CardPlayer Magazine for eight years, before selling the company to Barry Shulman. However, she still writes articles for the magazine. She also set up the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) which sets common rules for tournaments such as the WPT. She continues to be involved with the TDA by serving on the Board of Directors.
Johnson currently works as a Poker Relations Consultant for the WPT, also working as an announcer to the studio audience. In addition, she is an organiser for Card Player Cruises.
In 2009, Johnson helped found PokerGives.org, a nonprofit organization that makes it easier for poker players to donate to charity.