Annie Duke: Professional Poker Player and Philanthropist


Annie Duke is one of many renowned and successful women poker players that you should definitely know about and aspire to be like if you are the type of person who likes to play poker with your friends or even online. But beyond being a really talented player who is hard to beat, she is also a philanthropist who cares about other people. Continue reading to learn more about her, and be sure to check her out the next time that she is playing a poker match.

Annie’s Early Days

Annie Duke was born Annie Lederer on 13th September 1965. She grew up with one brother named Howard who inspired her because he, too, was a highly skilled poker player, and she also had one sister named Katy who went on to write books about poker. When all of the kids were young, they spent hours playing a variety of fun card games with one another. Being that they were extremely competitive, they learned how to refine their skills and work against the odds.

Annie later went to school at Columbia University, where she decided to double major in both Psychology and English. After she graduated, she received a full scholarship for her PhD in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. It was during her time in graduate school, when she visited her brother in Las Vegas, that she played her first Texas Hold’em match.

Howard was the one who eventually persuaded Annie to start playing poker as a professional. He started sending her some books on poker strategy, and he supplied her with a starting bankroll of $2,400. He also served as her mentor, discussing how she could boost her skills.

Growing Her Poker Career

At the beginning, Annie mostly played poker in tournaments that took place at the Crystal Lounge in Montana. But Howard later convinced her that she could play against the professionals in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker tournament in 1994.

In the first month of the tournament, Annie was able to win a whopping $70,000, so she decided to move to Las Vegas and play poker full time. She continued to play in competitions and continued winning huge monetary prizes as a result, garnering the attention of fellow poker professionals and the poker industry as a whole.

Annie’s Life Beyond Poker

Annie’s life as a poker player is certainly interesting and inspiring, but what makes her truly unique is her philanthropic spirit. She co-founded the Epic Poker League and established its main goal, which is to raise much-needed funds for a variety of charities.

The league has sponsored many poker tournaments, specifically at the palms Casino Resort, and it has been able to raise over $125,000. $25,000 was donated to the incredible Fallen Heroes USA charity, while $48,000 was provided to the Prevent Cancer Foundation and $53,000 was donated to Operation USA.

Annie was also honoured in 2013, when she was asked to work on the Board of Directors for the After School All-Stars, where she teaches kids that they can do anything they put their minds to.

Once you look back at Annie Duke’s life, you can see just how far she has come. She is intelligent, dedicated, hardworking, and caring, and she isn’t afraid to share her time and energy in an effort to help others who are in need.