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Poker Is Academic for Celebrity Apprentice Annie Duke

16 September 2009

Annie Duke's charm and wit have been well known in professional poker circles for years, but it took an appearance on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality series and her exchanges with business mogul Donald Trump to showcase her talent beyond what happens at the tables.

"I think people are seeing me more from my business side and recognize me more of a main stream character," said Duke, who raised $730,000 for her charity, Refugees International, on Celebrity Apprentice, the most money ever raised in the show's history.

It was particularly gratifying for Duke, who aside from her humanitarian and fund raising efforts for such other organizations as Decision Education Foundation and Ante Up for Africa, as well as a lobbyist on Capital Hill for the Poker Players Alliance, still plays a pretty mean game of poker.

"I didn't go on the show to raise my profile." she said. "I went on because it was a great opportunity to raise a lot of money and create awareness for a cause which I'm extremely passionate about. I accomplished that and it's great.

"But I'm happy people saw another aside of me. It's creating some fun opportunities to do some hosting and commentary on television, and I get to do interviews which are business based as opposed to just poker based, which is really fun."

She is appearing along with other poker experts at casinos around the country in the World Series of Poker Academy which provides first-hand, comprehensive instruction on the game for all levels of players.

"The academy is really an amazing way for poker players to take their game to the next level, whatever that next level may be for them," she said. "It is appropriate for anyone from beginner to advanced. Different people take different things out of it. It really helps you take your game a step up.

"The better you are at poker and the more you understand poker, the more fun the game is. I think this is a great thing to do. Trust me, it will really increase the amount of fun you have playing.

"A lot of what is written about poker, and a lot of the things people say about poker, is really about delivering people rules," Duke said. "Beyond that, you start getting into trouble because poker is really about being flexible in the situations that you're confronted with. I think that's really the main thing that the academy gives you.

"On the first day we start with the problems you are trying to solve and how you work toward solutions before the flop. We cover hand selection, bluffing theory, what to do in loose games, what to do in tight games, and how to adjust for tournaments.

"The second day is a comprehensive overview of post flop. It gives insight into how to think, which I think is really great."

Duke cautioned that the academy is not for anybody who is brand new to the game. It is designed for those who have least some playing experience and know the ranks of hands, terminology, and mechanics of the game.

"Poker is really like peeling back an onion," Duke claims. "There are the most basic levels, then you go deeper. Even if you're an advanced player there are some extremely advanced concepts that come out of this."

The value of personal instruction from expert players surpasses the information that a player can gather from a book or a DVD, according to Duke.

"You can't get into a dialogue with a book where you really get to clarify things," she said. "You have access all day to people to whom you can speak and who can explain what everything means and how you can apply it personally to your game.

"As I go through my seminars, I stop at each important section and say, 'Before we move on, does anybody have questions about this?' And I always say 'Don't be shy' because if you have a question about it your neighbor is probably wondering the same thing."

Poker "hand labs" will be conducted, participants will actually play poker with Duke and the other experts, and they'll also play in a multi-table private tournament the winner of which will go on to compete in the 2010 WSOP Academy Tournament of Champions with a $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event seat at stake.

"We give you information about hand selection as well as the concept of raising and how to raise properly," Duke said. "For intermediates we'll get into really deep concepts about reading the intentions of your opponents, and how your opponents read your intentions," she added.

Aside from her fund raising and humanitarian efforts, Duke will always be a poker player first, saying; "My real aspiration in life is to play poker. That's always going to be the primary thing I do."

Additional details about the events and all other academy happenings and information are available at www.wsopacademy.com or by calling 1-800-989-WSOP.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp