Annie Duke is well-known not just for her skill as a poker player—she is the winner of a gold bracelet from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and NBC’s National Heads Up Championship—but also for the extensive amount of time she spends volunteering for charity organizations and soliciting donations for them.
Through her sponsorship of charity poker events, Duke is able to indulge both her passion for assisting those in need and her enjoyment of the game of poker.
She has been able to effectively generate millions of dollars for several different organizations, such as Refugees International and Operation USA.
In the Beginning
Annie Lederer, who later became known as Annie Duke, was born on September 13th, 1965. Her maiden name was Annie Lederer. She has one brother named Howard who is a fantastic poker player, and she has a sister named Katy who is a well-known author, having authored books about poker herself. Both of her siblings are related to the game. They used to get together when they were younger and play a variety of card games together. They were always quite competitive.
She received degrees in English and Psychology from Columbia University, where she studied as a double major. After completing her undergraduate degree, she decided to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship.
During her time as a graduate student, Duke Lederer visited her brother Howard in Las Vegas, where she had her first experience playing Texas Hold ’em poker.
Her brother convinced her to play poker professionally, providing her with a starting bankroll of $2,400 and giving her poker strategy books. He would also talk to her on the phone on a daily basis, and during these sessions, they would discuss the many ways that she might enhance her techniques.
Career Opportunities in Professional Poker
In the beginning, Duke competed in tournaments at the Crystal Lounge, which was located in Billings, Montana. Her brother was able to persuade her that her poker skills would be sufficient to compete with the professionals in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in the year 1994. She earned $70,000 during the first month of the tournament, and after considering her options, she came to the conclusion that it would be in her best advantage to relocate to Las Vegas and begin playing poker full-time there.
In total, Duke had sixteen finishes in the money in the WSOP by the time the year 2000 rolled around. She continued to compete in that event. She finished 10th in the main event of the WSOP World Championship in the year 2000, despite the fact that she was nine months pregnant at the time. This was the second-highest result ever achieved by a woman in the history of the tournament.
In 2004, she won her first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) after coming in first place in the Omaha Hi-Lo Split event. She had earned more than $650,000 by July of that year, which put her in the position of being the biggest female money winner in the annals of the WSOP.
In 2010, Duke became the first and only woman to ever win the NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship. Her victory earned her a prize of $500,000 and became her the event’s sole female champion. She was up against a total of 64 other players, two of whom, Erik Seidel and Huck Seed, advanced to the final round of competition.
Other Poker Organizations and Associations
In the early 2000s, Duke was employed by ieLogic, the firm that was responsible for the development of the online poker software used by Ultimate Bet, both as a consultant and as a spokesman. She relocated to Portland, Oregon, which is where the IeLogic headquarters were situated; nevertheless, she only remained employed by the firm for a few years.
It was about the middle of the 2000s that she came up with the concept for the television program Annie Duke Takes on the World. The show was shown on the Game program Network for many seasons, and viewers found it entertaining to see her compete in poker tournaments against amateur competitors.
She is the author of many poker strategy books, including as “How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker,” which was released in 2005. She has also written an autobiography titled “How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, and Cursed at the World Series of Poker,” which was also published in 2005.
She is a former member of the World Series of Poker advisory council, at which time she was offered the chance to instruct at the WSOP Poker Academy poker school. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are just two of the well-known actors that she has instructed in the fundamentals of the game of poker.