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Annie Duke - "Celebrity Apprentice" / Professional Poker Player
Born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire, Annie Duke grew up in a family that had cards and competition in the blood. In a home where card playing was the glue that held the family together, everybody not only wanted to win but needed to win. Early in her childhood, Duke struggled to fit in as a liberal product of two teachers in a sea of conservatism and privilege on the grounds of the prestigious St. Paul’s prep school. Never feeling like she quite fit in, at the age of 18, Duke matriculated at Columbia University and thought to try her luck in the big city.
Pretty, smart and popular, Duke completed a major in English and Psychology at Columbia University intending to follow in the footsteps of her parents and becoming a teacher. Instead, she enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania for Cognitive Psychology.
In 1991, while Duke was knee deep in doctorate research, she proposed marriage to an old friend, Ben Duke, packed up her life and research and left academia behind for Billings, CO. Living in romantic poverty with her husband, Duke began to play poker in local pokers rooms to pay the mortgage on their first home. In 1994, at the suggestion of her brother, famed poker player Howard Lederer, Duke tried her hand at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. She ended up placing 13th in her first tournament, knocking her brother out of play. After winning 70K in her first month of competition, Duke and her husband made the move to Las Vegas so she could pursue poker professionally. Over the course of the next decade, Duke established herself as one of the best poker players in the world. In 2004, Duke beat out an assembly of 234 players in the WSOP $2000 buy-in Omaha Hi/Lo Split and won her first WSOP bracelet. In August of the same year, Duke knocked out 8 of the worlds’ greatest poker legends and won $2 million in the No-Limit Texas Hold’em winner-take-all, invitation-only WSOP Tournament of Champions, established by ESPN and Harrah’s Entertainment. Duke now serves as a consultant for the online poker site UltimateBet.com to ensure that their rules of poker and tournament structure match those you would find in the famous poker rooms of the Las Vegas strip. Furthermore, she is sought after for her vast poker skills and knowledge, coaching the likes of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on their poker game. In September 2005, Duke’s long awaited autobiography hit the shelves “Annie Duke: How I raised, folded, bluffed, flirted, cursed and won millions at the World Series of Poker”. Written in conjunction with David Diamond, the autobiography highlights the obstacles in Annie’s personal life, with her path to achieve her first WSOP bracelet. Duke has released a series of DVD’s, which include “Annie Duke’s Advanced Texas Hold’em Secrets: How to Beat the Big Boys” in October 2005, “Annie Duke’s Beginner’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘em” and “Annie Duke’s Girl’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘em” both released in January 2006, and the February 2006 release of “Masters of Poker: Annie Duke’s Conquering Online Poker”. Duke has also filmed a pilot called “Annie Duke Takes on the World” which premieres May 1 on GSN. Her production company Ten Dimes Productions, which she started with Joe Reitman, is currently developing a horror film script.
Annie recently appeared on NBC’s hit show Celebrity Apprentice. Duke currently resides in Los Angeles with her four children, Maud, Leo, Lucy and Nelly.