20 Most Influential People in Poker - #16 - Annie Duke
After a bit of a hiatus, I am resuming my series of the Top 20 Most Influential People in Poker. So far the list has broken down as follows:
20. Chris Moneymaker
19. Brian Balsbaugh
18. Linda Johnson
17. Dan Harrington
Number 16 on the list has been in the headlines recently due partially to ending a long-standing business arrangement and also for beginning what many hopes will be the next big thing in poker.
The 16th most powerful person in poker is Annie Duke.
Back in December, Annie ended her contract with UB.com to pursue what she said were non-poker related business ventures. Fast forward a few weeks, and then Federated Sports and Gaming announced a new pro poker league with Duke being named as commissioner. Former WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack is part owner of FS&G.
All this comes after a 2010 that saw Duke jump back into the forefront of poker after taking down the NBC National Heads-Up Championship.Â She defeated her good friend and 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Erik Seidel for the title. Later in the year, she made the final table of the WSOP Tournament of Champions where she finished 8th.
Duke is arguably one of the best female poker players of all-time. She currently sits 2nd on the Women's All-Time Money List behind Kathy Liebert and has one WSOP bracelet. She has over $4.27 million in career earnings.
Duke has also been regularly featured on television in shows ranging from 1 vs. 100 to finishing 2nd to Joan Rivers in Celebrity Apprentice. She also has a successful weekly online talk show and co-owns Mymixednuts.com.
While Duke is near the top of the Women's Money List, her personal life and public life have tended to take away more time from her ability to play. In fact, part of her decision to step away from UB was to focus more on her business ventures. She has admitted that her role as Commissioner of the new upcoming pro poker league will cost her time at the tables.Â However, she says this is a role that she welcomes with open arms.
Many might feel that the new poker league would garner Duke a higher spot on this list. Since it is new, and the fact that pro poker leagues have not done well in the past, it is hard to really move her up.
However, should this league take off, Duke may turn out to be one of the largest influences in tournament poker for many years to come.
Continue to #15 - Phil Hellmuth