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Annie Duke is a strong competitor when it
comes to tournament poker. I don't usually like to differentiate between whether a player is male or female. A player is good or bad regardless of
their gender, but I like the fact Annie is a female poker player. She regularly
proves that women can hold their own in a game that is supposedly "male-oriented". Phil Hellmuth once stated that Annie is the best all-around
woman poker player in the world today and many would agree.
Annie was born in Concord, New Hampshire. She attended school at St. Paul and went on to Columbia where she double-majored in psychology and English.
She then attended the University of Pennsylvania where she was in pursuit of a doctoral degree in psycholinguistics. She left the program to begin to
play poker. Her brother Howard Lederer taught her how to play and she hasn't looked back.
Although she attends the higher-limit tournament poker events, you would be more likely to see her playing
ring games at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Annie is a mother to four children and that sets her apart from almost anybody in the poker world. I remember reading that if it was a choice
between a tournament or one of her children's plays, the play was always going to win out. It shows that a person can have the best of two worlds.
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I saw her play at the first World Poker Tour
Ladies Night Invitational and I enjoyed watching her at work. She of course was sitting
there with one leg behind her (her signature) and had a determined look on her face. She did not win the event, but I remember thinking that if the competition
was based on competitiveness, she was a cinch to win. Annie normally does not attend ladies only events. She stated in an interview with CBS, "Poker
is one of the only sports where a woman can compete on a totally equal footing with a man, so I don't understand why there's a ladies only tournament."
Of course this is one of the reasons why I respect her. She wants to beat the best at the game whether they are male of female. Annie's sister, Katy Lederer,
wrote a memoir titled Pokerface. The book has great insights into both Annie and Howard's competitive nature.
Annie took over for
Amir Vahedi poker tutoring actor Ben Affleck. In June 2004, Affleck won
the $10,000 California State Poker Championship No Limit Hold'em tournament at the Commerce Casino, along with its $356,000 first prize.
Annie Duke is one of the most leading money winner among women in World Series of Poker history. She finished in tenth place in the $10,000 main event when she was
eight months pregnant with her third child. She won her first World Series of Poker bracelet in the 2004 $2000 Omaha High-Low event. Some of her other accomplishments
include winning the September 2004 ESPN World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions Invitational where a first prize of two million dollars was at stake. She
also earned second in Limit Hold'em in 1999 and 2003 at the World Series of Poker, and second in the Omaha High Low at the Bellagio World Poker Classic.
She also won NBC's National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2010.
Annie is not only known as a "poker" figure, she is also a "public" figure. In 2006, she partnered with actor Don Cheadle and Norman Epstein
to form the non-profi organization, Ante Up for Africa to help the victims of Darfur. In 2007, they hosted a tournament in association with the World Series
of Poker and raised more than $400,000. In November 2007, she testified in front of congress on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance regarding online gaming
legislation. She is also one of the spokesperson for the UltimateBet online cardroom, where you can find her articles on Omaha and other topics.
Annie Duke appeared on the 2009 edition of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump.
Annie Duke: English,