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February 1, 2015

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Poker pro Annie Duke doesn’t like her nickname

Card diva would like to ditch ‘Duchess of Poker’


Denise Truscello

Annie Duke arrives at Lavo in advance of the third-annual Ante Up for Africa poker tournament and WSOP event 57.

Poker pro Annie Duke might be known as “the Duchess of Poker” but the queen of the card tables wishes she could lose the nickname.

“Someone gave me that nickname, I didn’t give it to myself,” Duke said Tuesday as she arrived for dinner at Lavo.

However, when asked what nickname she’d prefer, duchess Duke didn’t have an answer.

“I wouldn’t have one,” she said. “I’d just be Annie Duke.”

“Here’s the thing: I used to be Annie Lederer,” she said. “That was my maiden name. And then I got married and the person I married was named Duke and I had always said I wouldn’t change my last name, but then I was like, Annie Duke’s a super cool name, particularly for a poker player.”

“It sounds very Old West, like I was hanging out with Wild Bill Hickok or something,” she said.

Since she decided years ago to take her former husband’s last name, the former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant has made deliberate efforts to keep it.

“When I got divorced I kept the name Duke because I thought it was a cool name,” she said. “It’s actually in my divorce agreement.”

So if the 2004 WSOP bracelet winner has her way, she’d be known simply as Annie Duke.

“I try to avoid the Duchess of Poker,” she said. “I think that it’s … over the top. Like (I’ve) got no sense of humor.”

Melissa Arseniuk writes about Las Vegas entertainment and celebrity events. She can be reached at 702-948-7823 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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