The world of poker is largely a male dominated affair so it’s refreshing to write about one of the few women regularly playing on the various poker tours. Not only playing of course but placing and winning with some regularity.
Annie Duke is the subject of this post. Born in Concord, New Hampshire on September 13th 1965, she was named Anne LaBarr Lederer. She was the daughter of well-educated parents and her own educational achievements show how intelligent she actually is. She has a double major in English and Psychology and this was followed by a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania to undertake Ph.D work in the field of Psycholinguistics.
After five years of study and an almost complete doctorate she left college and married Ben Duke (whose name she retains) and this marriage lasted around five years and produced two children.
So what about the poker then? Her brother, Howard Lederer, was a poker professional by this time and after some tuition Annie started playing at local poker games. While she was still married to Ben she worked at ieLogic, a software company based in Oregon which produced real-time online casino games. This company eventually became UltimateBet.
Again, back to the poker and by 1994 Ben and Annie had moved to Las Vegas so she could begin to play poker full-time. It wasn’t until 2000 that she had her first notable finish, 10th place at the WSOP main event while 8 months pregnant with her third child. She missed the placings for the final table by one place.
Further success followed over the subsequent years – she won the WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2004, eliminating her brother along the way. She did the same thing in four other tournaments that year too. During that WSOP tournament she also won her first and only (so far) tournament bracelet.
Her career winnings to date are around $4.3 million but she is also a published author. She
wrote her snappily titled “Annie Duke: How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker” in 2005. Additionally she has appeared on several TV shows, including live poker events and is an active charity fundraiser.