Posted by: Tom Owen | August 21, 2009

How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at The World Series of Poker (2005) – Annie Duke, SPS 1983

How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at The World Series of Poker

Over the last few years, poker has exploded into the mainstream through shows like Celebrity Poker Showdown and the syndication of major tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour.  Professional player Annie Duke has stood out from the crowd for breaking the gender barrier and her considerable playing skills.  Duke tells her story in this autobiographical book, co-written by David Diamond.

Image: Wikipedia.

Image: Wikipedia.

Biographical Notes (adapted from Wikipedia)
Annie Duke (born Anne LaBarr Lederer; September 13, 1965) is a professional poker player and author who won a bracelet in the 2004 World Series of Poker $2,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better Event and was the winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, where she earned the Winner-Take-All prize of $2,000,000.

Annie went to Columbia University where she double-majored in English and psychology. Subsequent to her undergraduate years, Duke was awarded an NSF Fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania to study psycholinguistics, a field within cognitive psychology.

In early 2004, Duke received considerable publicity for tutoring actor Ben Affleck, who then went on to win the 2004 California State Poker Championship. Before that time, one of her claims to poker fame was her 10th place finish in the 2000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event — one position short of the final table — while eight months pregnant with her third child. In the 2004 World Series of Poker, she eliminated her brother, Howard Lederer ’82, from four separate events, including the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, where she took first place and her brother took third. During this same World Series, she won her first gold bracelet, in an Omaha Hi-Lo tournament.

Image: Wikipedia.

Image: Wikipedia.

In 2009, she appeared on the Donald Trump reality television show, Celebrity Apprentice. Throughout the season, each celebrity raised money for a charity of his or her choice. Duke raised more money for her charity, Refugees International, than any other contestant.

Summary
The narration alternates between her victorious run at the 2004 WSOP and the story of her life.  The book starts when she is young – the daughter of St. Paul’s School English teacher Richard Lederer – and her experiences growing up in a quirky, intelligent family.  Duke explains how she came to love poker and what drove her to leave her academic life behind to pursue a career in gambling.  She describes horrible losses and satisfying victories in her playing and her personal life.  The finale of the book, of course, is her two million dollar 20004 win, which she narrates with detail.

Poker tips are sprinkled throughout the book in side boxes.  Readers will probably have more interest in the book if they have poker experience, but Duke avoids making the book too technical.

How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at The World Series of Poker is a whirlwind tale of interesting characters, terrible hardships, a gradual rise to fame, and a very intelligent woman.

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