The Duchess of Poker
|Career Winnings: $4,270,549||WSOP Cashes:
Born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire, Annie Duke grew up in a family that had cards – and competition – in their 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 she’d try her luck in the big city.
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 in the process. 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, she 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 eight 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.
In 2009, Duke became a household name when she appeared on NBC’s hit show Celebrity Apprentice.
In 2011 Annie and former WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack teamed up to create a series of poker tournaments called EPIC poker league. It is the only series of its kind, where those looking to enter must meet strict criteria like lifetime earnings, lifetime cashes, etc. This has created some of the best poker playing ever caught on tape.
Duke currently lives in Los Angeles with her four children, Maud, Leo, Lucy and Nelly.