Name – Annie Duke
Birthday – September 13, 1965
Location – Los Angeles, CA
Online Screen Names – AnnieDuke (Ultimate Bet)
Endorses – Formally Ultimate Bet
Website – annieduke.com
Annie Duke was raised on poker with her siblings in Concord, NH. Her entire family regularly played poker and the gift for playing the game rubbed off on her and her brother, pro poker player Howard Lederer. The poker table is not the only field in which Annie excelled during her youth either. An incredibly gifted academic, she could have chosen to go into teaching, but opted for the thrill of the casino instead.
Annie Duke attended Columbia University and gained a degree in English and psychology, fully intending to go into teaching because both her parents had made a living in that particular field. After graduating, she followed the academic route and began studying cognitive psychology in graduate school. She spent years working towards her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, but made the decision to leave and relocate with her husband just a few months before she was actually awarded her PhD.
Annie Duke did not begin actively pursuing poker until 1992. It was only because Annie and Ben Duke were living on the poverty line and struggling to earn a living that she actually began trying her luck in casinos, and even then her brother had to send her the money for a buy in! She began in the card rooms in Columbus and instantly started to make money. However, it came at a price when she was discriminated against because she was a woman. Ignoring that taunts, Annie continued to attend and made more and more money until she felt able to graduate to the big leagues.
The Duke family moved to Las Vegas in 1994 to join Howard and Annie began playing poker as a career instead of a sideline. Just six years later, she had managed to earn tenth place in the World Series of Poker Main Event. As one of the few women to play at the tables, she became notorious. Her ability backed her fame up as she placed well in tournaments from then on in.
Duke’s crowning moment was winning the WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2004, beating the best male players in the world for the honour. She acted as one of the faces of Ultimate Bet until the end of 2010, when her and several other pros, including Phil Hellmuth, terminated their contracts. She has also coached some of the most famous actors in the world, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to name but two, and will have a career for as long as the poker buzz lasts!
As of 2011, Annie Duke is working with former WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack on creating a new poker league that will directly compete with the LAPC, NAPT, and WSOP.