Annie Duke

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Annie Duke comes from the family that loves card games. So there is no wonder she became a poker star eventually. Annie was born and raised in New Hampshire, and in her early ages, she simply couldn’t find a way to fit in. She was the only child of liberals trying to survive in the conservative society of her St. Paul’s prep school. That’s why when Annie reached 18 years old, she entered Columbia University to get away from the people who simply couldn’t accept her.

In the University Duke got a major in English and Psychology planning to follow her parents and become a teacher, too. But instead of that, she entered the University of Pennsylvania and began studying Cognitive Psychology. During her doctoral research, she got married and left academia. During that time, she began playing poker for money to support herself and her husband and pay the mortgage for the family house. Her brother Howard Lederer, who is a well-known poker player himself, suggested Annie to try entering World Series of Poker in Vegas. And she followed the advice. Duke had quite a success there - she finished 13th in her first tournament, leaving her experienced brother behind. During the first month of competitions, she won around $70.000. To let Annie continue with her poker career, she and her husband moved to Las Vegas.

During the following ten years, Duke became one of the best poker players in the world. She won her first WSOP bracelet, knocked out eight poker legends out of WSOP Tournament of Champions and won $2 million - and all that over 2004. Thus, quite rapidly, she became one of the top players proving everyone that she is worth her fame and title.

Annie is an advocate for online gambling thanks to her experience with Ultimate Bet. And she actively is involved in various debates trying to push the limits and remove the restrictions poker players face. She even filed a lawsuit along with other six players against the World Poker Tour claiming that the release forms that are needed from participants to enter the events are violating the right of the individual and mess with the competition. Two years later, WPT modified the form.

Also, Duke is opposed WSOP Ladies Event saying that there is no difference between men’s and women’s skills when it comes to poker. So it is pointless and even offensive to have a separate WSOP bracelet for females.

Interestingly enough, Annie met her intentions to become a teacher - she has worked as one at the WSOP Poker Academy poker school. She also has coached many Hollywood stars to help them win the competitions. Duke is quite involved in charity, too. She is a co-founder of the Epic Poker League that sponsors tournaments and raises money for charity through them.

Today, Annie often talks and writes about strategic thinking. Because poker models are useful not only in the game, and Duke shows the audience how everyone can apply these strategies to improve their decision-making and learning processes.