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Original Issue

Q+A Annie Duke

The 39-year-old poker pro is the leading female money winner of all time at the World Series of Poker

SI: Do your four kids, ages 3 to 10, know what you do?

Duke: They know and are proud of it. My friend said that the first thing my son Leo said when he met her on the playground was, 'My mom's a famous a poker player.'

SI: You started playing while you lived in Montana. What were those days like?

Duke: I would drive 45 minutes on sheer ice to the Crystal Lounge in Billings. Every time I beat one of those old rancher guys at a pot they'd call me a [expletive].

SI: How much sexism exists in poker?

Duke: At my level it's not overt at all. A lot of people, when they see great woman players, they think they are kind of bitchy--which we're not. We are just as intense as male competitors and just as competitive.

SI: After graduating from Columbia you earned a fellowship to attend graduate school for cognitive psychology at Pennsylvania. Did the National Science Foundation get its money's worth with you?

Duke: They did because I was a prolific publisher and gave talks around the country. But the minute I left school I said, 'Screw you, I'm not going to teach.' I've always felt guilty about that because I took that fellowship away from somebody who might have done that.

SI: You helped produce an NBC pilot based on your life starring Janeane Garofalo. Where do things stand?

Duke: It wasn't picked up for this season, but that doesn't mean it's dead. I just sold a show to the Game Show Network. I'm the creator, executive producer and the on-screen talent. It's obviously a poker-related game show.

SI: Your brother Howard Lederer is one of the world's best players. What's it like taking cash off a sibling?

Duke: He taught me to play. When I started, he said, 'You can become the best female player in the world.' I've knocked my brother out of four tournaments, but I know he still loves me. --Richard Deitsch