Annie Duke The Duchess of Poker -Annie Duke was born in Concord, New Hampshire. Her brother Howard Lederer is also a professional poker player; her sister Katy Lederer is an author and poet.Annie went to Columbia University where she double majored in English and psychology. Annie Duke was awarded a NSF Fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania to study cognitive psychology, specifically psycholinguistics. Her intention was to become a professor but she left school in 1992, after five years of graduate school and one month before defending her Ph.D. work. She left academia to pursue family life with her husband, Ben Duke, and moved to Columbus, Montana.
While living in Montana, Annie Duke began playing poker in the legal card rooms in Billings. Her brother Howard was already a professional and he both coached and helped finance her play. In 1994, she and her husband moved to Las Vegas so she could start playing poker full time. Prior to 2004, her main claim to poker fame was her 10th place finish in the 2000 World Series of Dewapoker main event (one position short of the final table) while eight months pregnant with her third child.In early 2004, Annie Duke received considerable publicity because she tutored actor Ben Affleck, who then went on to win the 2004 California State Poker Championship. In September 2004 Duke won $2,000,000 in the inaugural World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, a 10-player, winner-take-all invitational event. She subsequently appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
As of 2006, Annie Duke has won one World Series of Poker bracelet, in Omaha HiLo and more than $3.1 million in tournament play. Nowadays she refuses to play in women’s only tournaments, saying that “Poker is one of the few sports where a woman can compete on a totally equal footing with a man, so I don’t understand why there’s a ladies only tournament.” Annie Duke is one of many poker players that take issue with the restrictions placed on players during televised tournaments. Although the players pay mandatory entry fees to enter tournaments, some venues do not allow players to wear sponsorship logos. Duke raised some controversy when she made a statement in a news article regarding this issue: “We [poker players] are not even slaves. We’re people paying to pick the cotton.”
In the 2004 World Series of Poker she eliminated her brother Howard Lederer from four separate events, including the aforementioned Tournament of Champions. Unlike her brother, Duke is known for being somewhat emotional at the poker table. As of 2007, her total live tournament winnings exceed $3,200,000. Annie Duke has been a spokesperson for Ultimate Bet since 2000 and has written many articles for the online poker website, mainly on Omaha HiLo. She has several nicknames including “Annie Legend”, “The Duke”, and “The Duchess of Poker”. Her sister, Katy Lederer, wrote a book about the Lederer family, titled Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers. She also has her own biography, called Annie Duke: How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at The World Series of Poker .