Annie Duke

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Annie Duke, ex-wife to Ben Duke, was born in New Hampshire’s Concord into a family of gamblers. She attended Columbia University where she bagged double honors in Psychology and English. There after, Duke enrolled into the University of Pennsylvania for her doctorate where she met her husband Ben Duke, whom she later settled down with. She quit school in 1992 after moving into her husband’s home in Columbus, Montana. Later, the Dukes found themselves struggling to make ends meet in Montana, which probably led her to considering a move into the game of cards. With the help of her brother, Howard Lederer also a professional poker player, she was able to start a career in poker.

Nicknamed The Duke, she started playing poker games in Billings. Her brother, Howard Lederer, was successful enough to help coach as well as finance her at the start. Annie’s development in the game of cards was fast, which saw her win $70,000 in her first ever World Series of Poker tournament. That was actually a feat that prompted her to move into Las Vegas with her husband in order to be fully committed to the game. Annie Duke considerably came under the spotlight in 1994 when she tutored star actor Ben Afleck to go on and claim the top prize of the 2004 California State Poker Championship.

Annie defied the popular saying “you should never outshine your master” by defeating her brother and one-time coach, Howard Lederer, four different times in the 2004 World Series of Poker. It was that same tournament that produced her first gold, an Omaha High-Low tournament, as well as winning an open event alongside Kathy Liebert and Cyndy Violette.

Also known as Annie Legend, Duke says her favorite poker game is the Omaha High-Low. Duke has a World Series of Poker bracelet to her name among many other top prizes. In an inaugural WSOP Champions’ tournament, Duke clinched $2,000,000 and hence, held the most money paid single female poker event until Annette Obrestad broke it during the 2007 WSOP Main Event. Annie Duke’s has earned cumulative tournament winnings of more than $3,600,000.

The Duchess of Poker who started playing poker at age 22 has two 1st place finishes at the Five-Star World Poker Classic (WTP Championship, Season 2: Limit Hold’em) and the 35th Annual World Series of Poker Event (WSOP Limit Omaho High-Low) in 2004. she has also written several books and articles including How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker