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Why Does Mainstream Media Keep Talking To Former Poker Pro Annie Duke?

Duke Appears On CNBC To Promote New Business Book


Although it’s been over seven years since her last tournament cash, and despite being persona non grata in the poker world, Annie Duke has managed to keep her name in the headlines.

Duke, who now calls herself a business consultant, speaker, and author, recently appeared on to promote her latest book. It wasn’t a rare media appearance for the WSOP bracelet winner, who has somehow stayed relevant since she fled the poker scene with mainstream outlets such as Forbes, NPR, Reuters, Slate, and others all offering publicity with little-to-no mention of her ties to major scandals at the now-defunct UltimateBet and Epic Poker League.

The appearances don’t sit well with many in the poker community, who were left robbed of money in both cases. Duke’s EPL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection nearly six years ago and was millions in debt when they went under. The league was forced to cancel a pair of tournaments, including a promised $1 million freeroll for the league’s top performers in the inaugural season. Executives, including Duke, with the EPL’s parent company Federated Sports and Gaming were paid hefty six-figure sums despite the financial troubles of the league.

Annie Duke at a 2010 WPT EventDuke also faced criticism for her work with Ultimate Bet, a poker site that closed in the aftermath of Black Friday. Many former customers of the site are still waiting to get their money back. UB was under heavy fire years earlier thanks to a cheating scheme involving so-called “super users.” The scandal featured UB founder and 1994 WSOP main event champion Russ Hamilton, who admitted to swindling other players out of about $16-$18 million from 2003-2007 using a “god mode” cheat in the software that allowed him to see other players’ hole cards.

Duke denied any involvement in the scheme, but that didn’t stop players from voicing their displeasure with her when she tried to come back to the WSOP in 2012. Top pro and bracelet winner Jason Dewitt was quoted telling Duke that “she is a disgrace to the poker community” while at her table, and in the years since, she hasn’t been around the game.

The piece from CNBC’s Dan Schawbel draws comparisons between poker and investing, describes Duke as a “world renowned poker player,” and credits her tournament wins, but many of today’s players just want to her to stop speaking on behalf of the poker world.

To her credit, Duke has stated that she is retired from poker. But that begs the question, why do mainstream media outlets continue to give her time in the spotlight while glossing over her messy exit from the game? One would assume that by now she would have exhausted her celebrity capital from being on a reality show like “The Apprentice.”

When asked about her departure from poker, Duke stayed cryptic, “I moved forward, I had to let that go, which was challenging.”