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About Us

About The Poker People

Our Origin Story:

The Poker People was started in 2006 by Lara Gertzen with the name West LA Poker.  It was initially a retail shop and dealer school.  After some time, it became obvious that fighting the internet to sell poker chips was a losing battle so Lara transitioned the retail store to a casino night event company.  Fate struck in 2009 with a chance meeting between Lara and Pamela Laurie.  The North Dakota native brought her work ethic and event management background to the company, moving quickly from dealer to Tournament Director, to running the office.  In 2018 they decided to make Pamela’s ownership role in the company official and to rebrand as The Poker People.

The New Normal:

After 15 years of running in-person games, The Poker People came to a grinding halt with the rest of the world in March 2020.  Once the shock of losing 29 jobs in 4 days wore off, owners Pamela and Lara decided they needed to keep working and, as equally important, they needed to keep their dealers working.  So they went out and built a poker site to host online team building events.  Pairing the game with video conferencing,  The Poker People now hosts team building games for corporate clients far beyond their California roots.  With live dealers acting as poker ambassadors, these games have built a reputation for quality entertainment worldwide.  Even as the world slowly begins to reopen, the demand for virtual team building events has not diminished.  No longer simply a Los Angeles events company, their service area is now Earth, with dealers available 24/7 for customers in every time zone.

With in-person events relaunching, The Poker People are happy to be back to their old ways too.  They’re welcoming charity clients and looking forward to helping them recover from a fundraising drought. If you are looking for a virtual team building event or an in-person charity fundraiser, look no further than The Poker People.

The People of The Poker People

Lara Gertzen


CEO/Director of Sales

Lara spends most of her time in the office these days focused on growing the company and trying to figure out how SEO works.  She has a never ending stream of ideas to expand the product line and big plans for the future. She has an AA in business but has never let that stop her. Married for 25 years, Lara splits her time between travel, several spoiled pets and of course playing a lot of poker.

Pamela Laurie


COO/Director of Operations

Pamela has a background in event production and management and brings her unique vision to each job. She is truly a jack of all trades as you can find her dealing a high stakes home game, running a 300-person online team building tournament or working on set as a production consultant. When not at work you can find Pamela at home with her husband, three cats and a serious Code Names addiction.

Allison Williams

Event Manager/Tournament Director

Allison may be your Event Manager but she also deals live poker, runs virtual poker tournaments and handles our corporate clients with ease.  Her sweet personality and salty sense of humor blend into The Poker People just fine.  Recently married, this St. Louis native splits her time between work, her dogs and her YouTube cooking show Allison Bakes Your Day.

Kari Larson

Event Manager/Tournament Director

Running an event is a balancing act. From Hollywood home games to virtual team building events to actual stadiums, Kari runs many of our most important events.  We throw pretty much everything at her and she handles it all with confidence.  She is also a 3rd degree brown belt in American Kempo, so if you decide to check raise her you had better have the best hand.

Joe Giorgi

Sales Manager/Tournament Director

Many of our dealers come from the casino world and Joe is no different. (You may have seen him dealing at Commerce Casino.) Joe splits his time between our sales and operations teams and when not at work can be found playing hockey or drumming for his rock band, the Jet Lemons.   Joe recently became a father and we are all looking forward to Theo’s first words being “All In. “

Jim FitzGerald

Sales Manager/Tournament Director

Very few people have the depth of experience of the man knows simply as Fitz. He splits his time between being a boxing ring announcer and working for The Poker People. He trains dealers, runs home games and has a reputation for quality and commitment that is unmatched. If you have been to a poker game in Los Angeles anytime in the last 20 years, you probably know Fitz.

Scott Miroff

Operations Manager/Tournament Architect


Scott has 30 years of casino experience and a deep love for the game. Originally from Colorado, Scott lived all over and worked in a variety of industries until he found poker to call home. Scott is in charge of our A.C.E. training program and his dedication to the art of poker dealing keeps our standards high. Off the tables you might see him skiing, mountain biking or riding his motorcycle.

Josh Taylor

Equipment Coordinator/Tournament Director


You can find Josh pretty much anywhere and everywhere.  (He is the Roy Kent of our crew.)  Josh manages all the equipment for our live games as well as dealing both live and virtual tournaments.  That is when is isn’t running an event or mentoring new dealers.  When not rooting for his Raiders, Josh can be found in the kitchen whipping up a batch of his signature beef jerky.

Our Dealers

Poker Ambassadors for virtual and live games


We love our dealers.  With over 50 dealers spread out over 9 states, our team comes from all walks of life and they bring their unique personalities and skillsets to every game.  Most have casino experience, but they all share a passion for the game and for making it fun for the players.  We know that without them, The Poker People would never be where they are today.

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