Meet The Board Of Directors
Here you’ll have a chance to meet the TDA Founders, Board of Directors, and other staff that make the Poker TDA such a great organization. The Directors sound off on issues from their unique vantage points in mini-blogs at the Discussion Forum. The Directors look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions!
Matt Savage was born and raised in San Jose, California. He started working at the age of 14 as a porter in a 60-lane bowling center. When his dreams of becoming a professional bowler started to fade, he looked for other ways to compete. Who could have predicted that when he walked into a poker room for the first time at the age of 21 that his new competitive choice would take him to the top of the profession? Not exactly as he planned mostly because he claims that his below average poker playing ability led him to take a job at the same poker room he walked into one year earlier. Read More
Jack Effel is Tournament Director for the 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) and Vice President of International Poker Operations for Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). The 2013 WSOP will be Jack’s seventh consecutive year to serve as TD for the world’s most prestigious poker tournament series. His poker career began in 1997 and he has held nearly every position in the industry including: dealer, supervisor, manager, tournament director and director of poker operations. Jack’s involvement in tournament poker began in 2000 with the World Poker Open and in 2004 he became a full-time tournament director. In 2005 he joined the World Series of Poker as assistant tournament director after serving in the same capacity at WSOP Circuit Events earlier that year. Jack returned in 2006 as the WSOP co-tournament director and has served as the sole tournament director since 2007. Read More
New Jersey native Tab Duchateau is the Poker Tournament Director for the Borgata Hotel Spa and Casino in Atlantic City. He began his gaming career in the harness horse racing industry in 1983 then made the switch to the green felt as a poker dealer for Resorts International in 1993. In 1996 he accepted the position of poker floorperson at the Tropicana Atlantic City and was promoted to Tournament Director in 2000.
Tab joined the Borgata in 2003 as Tournament Director. The Philadelphia-New York-Boston corridor is very densely populated and competitive. Tab has listened to players and designed a tournament calendar that draws players from all over the world. In addition to a busy regular and championship tournament schedule, the Borgata hosts both the WPT Borgata Open and WPT Winter Open. These events have produced 3 of the 4 largest fields in WPT history.Read More
Neil Johnson is originally from Puyallup, Washington and has played poker since his family discovered he was willing to risk his allowance. Neil first went to Las Vegas for his 21st birthday and by the late 90’s he was cutting his poker tournament teeth on the $20 dailies at the Orleans. An injury forced him out of a career in the book industry (a continuing passion), and while searching for a new career he tried his hand at acting. Neil enjoyed theatre immensely and won a few awards, but it didn’t pay the mortgage. While rehearsing for a new play, he played at the Muckleshoot Casino in Washington. In two weeks he won $1,000 and then promptly lost it playing $4/$8 Limit Holdem, Omaha and Stud 8. He noticed that the best dealers made some good money and since he knew the games and was looking for a new career, why not learn how to shuffle and pitch! Read More
Johnny Grooms hails from Newport, Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. After high school, with his eyes on a law career, he attended East Tennessee State University, majoring in criminal justice and political science.
On his way to enrollment at the University of Memphis School of Law, Johnny drove through nearby Tunica, Mississippi. He was intrigued by the development of new casinos in Tunica and thought they could offer him a good part-time job while in college. Read More
Lloyd Fontillas is Executive Tournament Director of the Asian Poker Tour and one of the most experienced and respected TD’s in the world.
A native of Kingsville, Texas Lloyd went to high school in the Philippines before returning to the U.S. to start his career. While working at a cannery in Kodiak, Alaska his mother called with a job offer at Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, California. Not yet of legal gambling age, Lloyd started as a bus boy at Bay 101. When he turned 21 he played his first 2-4 limit game, recalling: “I won a mountain of chips and was hooked for life.” Read More
Kansas native Stewart Michael Bishop (on left in picture) has been studying poker rules since he checked out “According to Hoyle” at age 6 from the library. Nearly 50 years later he’s still at it. Since 2005 Mike has co-managed the Poker TDA Discussion Forums answering 100’s of rules questions from TDA members worldwide. He also served on the production teams of both the 2009 and 2011 TDA Summits. Read More
Honorary Board Members
Jan Fisher is a native of Seattle, Washington. She started her gaming career in 1977 as a poker dealer in Las Vegas. After gaining experience in numerous Vegas cardrooms, Jan moved on to poker event management and began playing professionally. Her popular forum / blog site “Poker Tournaments Today” is located at: http://www.pokertda.com/forum/index.php?board=12.0 and she welcomes your comments and feedback. Jan is a partner in Card Player Cruises (http://cardplayercruises.com/) where she hosts and directs cruiseline tournaments. Read More
Linda Johnson, nicknamed “the First Lady of Poker”, has been a leading force in the poker world for much of her life. Linda began playing poker in the 1970s after buying some poker books and teaching herself how to play. She was immediately enthralled with poker and had a natural ability for the game. She entered the World Series of Poker Ladies seven-card stud tournament in 1980, deciding in advance that if she performed well, she would quit her job at the Post Office and move to Las Vegas to play professionally. As fate would have it, Linda finished fifth in the tournament and promptly gave her two-week notice. She moved to Las Vegas and played poker full time from 1980-1993, one of just a handful of women who played the game professionally during those years. Read More
Hailing from scenic Northern Nevada, Reno resident Dave Lamb is one of the most recognizable poker tournament directors in the industry today. Dave has been actively managing poker tournament events for over 15 years and is an original Founding Member of the Poker Tournament Director’s Association. Read More