Annie Duke – a highly controversial ‘poker champion’
Annie Duke has incensed the poker community once again, this time appearing as a ‘coronavirus expert’ on CNBC news and giving her opinion on decision-making strategies to deal with the pandemic.
Annie Duke on CNBC discusses how to deal with the corona virus.https://t.co/TlcyBlzqw7
— Allen Kessler (@AllenKessler) September 27, 2020
Duke, the sister of Howard ‘The Professor’ Lederer, regularly pops up on the news as an expert. Her credentials are given as ‘poker champion’ with no mention of her status as Ultimate Bet and Epic Poker League outcast within the community.
It didn’t take long for Kessler’s tweet to attract anti-Duke sentiment, despite the occasional attempt to defend her a ‘poker champion’.
Of course, Duke is a ‘poker champion’ of sorts, having taken down the 2004 WSOP $3k Omaha Hi-Lo title and amassing several $million in tournament cashes during her career.
However, it was her dual roles within Ultimate Bet and the ill-fated Epic Poker League that the poker community most remember her for, and why they are so up in arms about her continually being called upon by the mainstream media.
Epic Poker League disaster
Duke was one of the major faces of the EPL as co-founder and commissioner, the plan being to attract the world’s leading players in a PGA-style series of tournaments.
However, after only three events the league filed for bankruptcy with $5million in debts and assets of less than $200,000. Duke and former WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack bore the brunt of the blame for the scandal.
Duke’s Ultimate Bet connections
The Ultimate Bet debacle exploded when Russ Hamilton was discovered to have had ‘God-mode’ access to players’ hole cards. The 1994 WSOP Main Event champion developed and used ‘superuser accounts’ to steal more than $22million from unsuspecting players.
Annie Duke, a spokesperson for UB, was implicated when tapes of Hamilton admitting to his cheating and theft were released. Duke was said to have used holecard information on a 15-minute delay to cheat players.
Since being ostracized from the poker world, Duke has reinvented herself as an ‘experienced corporate speaker and ‘consultant on the behavior of decision making.’
This week’s CNBC article, titled: ‘Betting against coronavirus: A poker champion on how to win with an uncertain hand,’ sees Duke offer up several ‘rules’ for how we should take decisions related to the coronavirus.
She describes wearing masks as a ‘freeroll’ explaining: “Nothing bad comes from it, but a lot of good can come from it.”
Her ‘expert’ guide list covers how guessing, testing, and using intuition can all help to defeat Covid-19. That brought derision from her ex-colleagues in the poker world.
That’s right up there with chef Gordon Ramsay explaining how to deal with solar flares on the sun
— Dan Ross (@HoldemMedia_Dan) September 27, 2020
Point #4 is valid. The others are laughably wrong, terrible advice, facile and naive, and actually antithetical to risk management/logical reasoning and data-based analytical reasoning.
— Stefan Janicki (@thedesslock) September 28, 2020
The exact same thing happened two years ago, again CNBC using Duke in a similar article, and again being put straight by poker players, this time Ari Engel taking the lead…
Sigh.. I wish Dan and Cnbc had looked more into the background of a person who was heavily involved and endorsed Ultimate Bet and Epic poker (both failed businesses that cheated their customers). So many honorable poker players- no need to pick scammy Duke https://t.co/oKVmu2bexC
— Ari Engel (@AriEngelPoker) February 7, 2018
…and others, such as Danielle ‘dmoongirl’ Anderson, swiftly supporting him…
‘Once a world renowned poker player and now, arguably the biggest disgrace the game has ever seen, Annie Duke…’
Here. I Fixed your opening line of your article. Let me know when you want to interview a decent human being next time. I know people. You’re welcome. https://t.co/3YfB9aUT9W
— Danielle Andersen (@dmoongirl) February 7, 2018
Two years on and there appears to be no let-up in using Annie Duke as an expert and pushing her poker credentials. With 99.9% of the community speaking up, however, the stain she left on the game will at least not be forgotten.
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