Annie DukeHome games were tough at the Lederer household in Concord, N.H. Young Annie saw no relief from her father Richard and brother Howard, who refused to cut her any slack at the poker table. In this highly educated home, Annie flourished. The product of two teachers, Annie began to hold her own during home games and excel in the classroom.
Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
Total Winnings: $2,157,246 (Includes all tournament winnings)
First Place Finishes: 4
WSOP Bracelets: 1
Marital Status: Divorced
Children: Maud (1995), Leo (1998), Lucy (2000) and Nell (2002)
Started Playing Poker: Age 22
Favorite Poker Game: Omaha 8 or better
Ambition: To be the best mom I can be while still managing to juggle a poker career
Favorite Movie: I have a ton of favorite movies so I can only narrow it down -All That Jazz, Avalon, Real Genius, or
Favorite Music: White Stripes, Violent Femmes, Arctic Monkeys, Willie Nelson
Favorite Place: Portland Oregon
Favorite Celebrity: Jack White
Poker Players I Respect Most: Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey and Ted Forrest.
If I could change anything in the world: People would be much nicer to their children.
If I could change anything in the poker world: People would be much nicer to the dealers.
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Home games were tough at the Lederer household in Concord, N.H. Young Annie saw no relief from her father Richard and brother Howard, who refused to cut her any slack at the poker table. In this highly educated home, Annie flourished. The product of two teachers, Annie began to hold her own during home games and excel in the classroom.
After high school, Annie found herself in the Ivy League. She attended Columbia University, impressively completing a double major in Psychology and English. The next move was another member of the Ivy League, the University of Pennsylvania. Duke was five years into her quest for a doctorate when she packed up and moved from Philadelphia to Montana with her new husband Ben Duke.
The move to Montana proved to be very harsh on the Dukes, as they often found themselves toeing the poverty line. Annie decided to venture into the Billings back room poker games, the young girl sitting in a sea of testosterone. With a bankroll from her now professional poker-playing big brother, Duke was able to put in countless hours on the felt, becoming a great player in the process. Soon enough, the young couple’s financial problems were a thing of the past.
The Dukes decided to make the move to Las Vegas in 1994, after Annie took home $70,000 in her first World Series of Poker. It was obvious that Duke had found her calling in poker. She continued to prove that she was not just a good female player, but a great player, period.
“Poker is one of the only sports where a woman can compete on a totally equal footing with a man,” said Duke. Any doubters of her claim were forced to eat their words after Duke narrowly missed the 2000 main event final table while eight months pregnant. To this day, she refuses to enter any of the women-only events, choosing instead to drag pots in male dominated games.
Duke cemented her legacy in 2004 by claiming her first WSOP bracelet in an Omaha Hi-Lo event. That win earned her a seat at the invitation-only 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions table. Duke navigated her way through nine of the greatest players on the planet, including her brother Howard Lederer, and was crowned champion of the winner-take-all event. Duke received $137,860 for her win, which, at the time, was the biggest prize ever awarded to a female poker player.
Celebrity was unavoidable for Duke. She was the new poster girl for poker; the woman who proved it wasn’t just a man’s game anymore. She released the book Annie Duke: How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker, and appeared on programs such as the Colbert Report and The Late Show with David Letterman. She was a hot commodity, even by those in Hollywood. Duke exhibited some of her teaching skills when her top poker pupil, actor Ben Affleck, rode her instruction all the way to a win at the 2004 California Stake Poker Championship.
Duke continues to play poker, going deep in three 2007 WSOP events, including a final table, and a 21st place finish in the inaugural WSOP Europe Championship. Annette Obrestad took home the title, breaking Duke’s highest female payday record in the process.
When away from the tables, Duke spends time as an active member of Team Ultimate Bet, but her main focus is her family. She and Ben divorced in 2004, and Annie moved to Los Angeles with her four children, Maud, Leo, Lucy and Nelly. Duke now lives with her boyfriend, actor, producer and poker junkie, Joe Reitman. She states that her ambition in life is “to be the best mom she can be, while still managing a poker career.” With nearly $3.5 million in career tournament winnings, Duke has the ability to take all the family time she needs.
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