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Annie Duke

By Paul McGuire

For all of her life, Annie Duke was known as Howard Lederer's sister. Recently, she's been making a name for herself. Phil Hellmuth dubbed her, "The best all around female player in the world." She has proven in the last few years that she is not just the best female player in the world, but one of the top poker players... period.

Annie Duke
Annie Duke - Source: Las Vegas & Poker

Annie Duke grew up in New Hampshire in an academic environment and had intentions on becoming a professor. She attended graduate school for psychology and eventually settled in Montana with her husband. At that time her brother, Howard Lederer, was living in Las Vegas as a professional poker player. He taught her how to play and even scribbled down the best starting hands for her on a cocktail napkin. With her brother’s advice, she honed her skills in card rooms all over Montana.

In 1994, encouraged by Howard, she played in a few World Series of Poker events in Las Vegas. In just her second tournament ($2500 limit event), she took third place. She also played in the $10,000 main event and made the money in her first attempt. In an ironic twist, she knocked her brother out of the tournament when her pocket aces took down his A-K. Soon after, she moved to Las Vegas to play professional poker.

Annie Duke is also a full time mother, which adds a unique back story to her rise in poker. Not only did she have to overcome the shadow of her successful brother, she had to juggle motherhood and high stakes poker. She eventually succeeded in both. In one of the most remarkable feats in poker, she made the final table at the main event in the 2000 World Series of Poker while she was nine months pregnant.

She is not just a great No Limit player but she also excels in other games. In 2004, she won her first World Series of Poker bracelet in Omaha Hi/Lo. Her career numbers are impressive. She has won more prize money at the World Series of Poker than any other woman, including the most final table appearances and most money finishes. She also won the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions in 2004, beating out some of the top names in poker including Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and her brother Howard Lederer. The first place prize money in that event was $2 million!

Annie frequently plays against the big boys at the Bellagio, in addition to working as a software consultant, and being a mom to her four children. She also got attention for being a poker coach to a high profile celebrity. Under her tutelage, Ben Affleck won the No Limit event at the 2004 California State Championships.

Annie Duke has made a name for herself and will continue to do so. You can visit her website http://www.annieduke.com/ and read some of the articles she has written on Omaha Hi/Lo.

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