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Annie Duke

Sister of famous poker professional Howard Lederer, Annie Duke was born in 1965, in Concord, New Hampshire.

Growing up in a family in which card playing was a regular bonding opportunity, she soon became familiar with all sorts of poker and other card variants. Having graduated from St Paul prep School, in Concord, she decided it was time she moved to the big city, so she matriculated at Columbia University, and moved to the Big Apple.

At Columbia, se studied English and psychology, and earned a degree in psycholinguistics, which would come in pretty handy later in her poker career. Just as she was preparing to defend her PhD, she proposed marriage to Ben Duke, a long time university friend or hers, who accepted, so they moved to Billings, Colorado, to live in relative poverty there for a while.

Realizing that she had to do something to move their financial situation above water-level, Annie began playing poker in Billings. It was about this time that her brother, Howard came to her aid, and began tutoring her.

1994 was the year that Annie decided she was ready to face the big boys of poker, and took part in her first WSOP event. She ended up in 13th, which coupled with the fact that she knocked her brother out in the process, certainly got her hooked on the game for good.

Even though she had had winnings of $70k/month before that career defining WSOP money finish, that made it clear that she indeed had what it took to become one of poker’s greats.

Sure enough, tournament results started flowing in. She moved to Las Vegas in 1994 with her husband, to be closer to the action, and the increased exposure to the world of professional poker paid its dividends.

In September, 2004, she won the WSOP’s Tournament of Champions invitational, and $2 million, which stood as the record for a while as the most money ever paid out in a single live tournament to a female poker player.

She has a WSOP bracelet, which she won in an Omaha Hi-Lo event, and several WSOP money finishes (34 to be exact). In 2006, she finished 88th in the WSOP Main Event, and she was the penultimate female player to be eliminated.

Her highest Big Dance finish came in 2000 though when she finished just one position short of the final table, in 10th place. What makes the feat even more interesting and impressive is that she was pregnant with her third child while playing.

Besides her WSOP achievements, she also has a WPT final table and 2 money finishes.
In 2004 she divorced Ben Duke, but decided to keep his family name. Also in 2004, she tutored Ben Affleck (yes, that Ben Affleck), and eventually helped him to victory in the California State Poker Championship.

Annie has made three appearances in Poker After Dark.
In 2006 she was the author of a very impressive streak of correct answers in NBC’s 1 vs 100, where she was a member of the mob, and she answered well to no fewer than 35 consecutive questions.

Currently, together with Phil Hellmuth, she’s a member of the professional team endorsing the online poker room UltimateBet.

Nowadays, Annie refuses to play in women’s only tournaments. She says that poker is one of the sports in which gender has no word to say in the outcome, and right she is about that…

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