Tag Archives: charities

Poker Ace Annie Duke ‘All In’ at World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

Poker ace Annie Duke plays poker like she is running a business, not letting emotions rule her play, thinking quicklyAnnieDuke and accurately, as witnessed in her latest TV show stint.  With CEO-like skills, she is one of the most successful female poker players in the world.  The 43-year-old Duke has been playing in the World Series of Poker since 1994 and has cashed in on 37 events, earning more than $1.13 million through the Rio tournament annually held in Las Vegas. 

Her best finish in the tournament’s $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em Main Event was in 2000 when she placed 10th and won $52,160.  She won her first World Series of Poker champion’s bracelet in 2004 at an Omaha High-Low event. 

“I’ll probably play in about 15 to 20 events at the World Series,” Duke said. “It’s a long haul.” 

Duke drafted a new legion of fans and followers, boosting poker’s image in the process, as a contestant in the television series “The Celebrity Apprentice.”  She was one of 16 personalities trying to raise money for charity while trying not to be fired by the host, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump.  Duke finished second ahead of a whole slew of sports stars, but it was her acrimonious verbal battles with comedienne Joan Rivers, the show’s eventual winner, that had the audience turning on in record numbers, driving ratings out the roof. 

Rivers said Duke was worse than “Hitler” and compared poker players to members of the Mafia.  Although the comments raised the ire of the poker community and officials at the World Series of Poker, the media boost couldn’t have been better for the game, Duke and Trump– it raised more than $1.5 million for various charities. 

But Duke believes that Rivers still owes poker players and Las Vegas an apology. 

“Poker is a legitimate profession,” said Duke, who is a graduate of Columbia University with degrees in psychology and English.  She also spent five years working toward a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in cognitive psychology, which she has set aside for now. 

Divorced, Duke is the mother of four children, ranging in age from 7 to 14.  

Her brother is poker standout Howard Lederer, who has two World Series of Poker titles to his credit.  On four occasions she and her bro have ended up at the same table during World Series of Poker play- each time she has knocked him out of the competition, adding “I guess I have bragging rights.” 

Duke is well known for her charitable giving efforts.  Through poker events, she has raised millions of dollars for children’s hospitals and educational foundations. 

In 2007, she and actor Don Cheadle established the Ante Up for Africa event, a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold ‘em annual Las Vegas event in July that raises funds for the survivors of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.  The event attracts the best Hollywood A-list celebrities and the poker elite, raising $500,000 last year alone for the cause. 

Duke is also an activist on Capitol Hill in trying to change the federal law outlawing the Internet wagering.  She is one of the founding members of the Poker Players Alliance, which supports making online poker once again a legal activity.

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Walk and Sip Vino at Las Vegas Wine Walk

The second of the 2009 Wine Walk events to support the New Vista Community will be held Saturday, April 25 at Boca Fashion Village, 750 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas.  The price is $30 per person or two for $50; the event will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  The season’s first Wine Walk took place Saturday, April 5 at Towne Square.  winewalk

For five years this successful charity fundraiser has been held exclusively on the east side of Las Vegas.  However, this year people living in northwest Las Vegas are being invited to participate with a series of dates in Summerlin.  Guests will have an opportunity to taste more than twenty different wines while leisurely shopping at Boca Fashion Village or Towne Square. Live entertainment will be provided and Designated Drivers will be made available as needed at no charge to Wine Walker participants.

2009 Wine Walk schedule: 

Town Square – May 5, September 5 and October 3

Summerlin-Boca Park – April 25, May 23, September 26 and October 17 

New Vista has been providing health care, life skills training and homes to people with learning and developmental disabilities since 1986.   Services are paid for by direct contribution, the New Vista Community Emporium (a second hand new and used retail store located at 5220 W. Charleston in Las Vegas) and fund raisers like the annual Wine Walk. 

Further information on New Vista and the Wine Walk may be found at http://newvistacommunity.org/

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Penn & Teller, Harrah’s Entertainment Give Back to Las Vegas

Comedy-magic duo Penn & Teller will present Goodwill of Southern Nevada with hundreds of men’s and women’s business suits that were collected throughout the Harrah’s Entertainment properties. The event starts at 11 a.m.  April 15 at the Penn & Teller box office in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. pennandteller

The event’s purpose is to raise awareness of Harrah’s Entertainment’s ‘Giving Back to the Community’ resource fair that focuses on professional and personal development on Thursday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  at the Rio Pavillion Ballroom in the Rio Convention Center at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. 

Workshops and presentations planned for April 16 include opportunities to improve skills in job searching, health and wellness, nutrition, and create awareness of financial and community resources available.  Highlights include resume review, interview practice and feedback, free mammograms, health screenings and dental checks, healthy cooking demos and more than 30 organizations that provide services to Las Vegas. 

Both events are free and open to the public.

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Tiger Jam XII, No Doubt, Celebrities in Las Vegas on May 16

Tiger Jam is coming back to Las Vegas with renowned musical talent, amazing guests, and, of course, a legendary tigerwoodshost.  No Doubt will join Tiger Woods on May 16, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas to celebrate Tiger Jam XII presented by AT&T and kick-off their first tour in five years. The event benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and select Las Vegas-based charities.

“I’m thrilled No Doubt is kicking off their tour at Tiger Jam,” Woods said. “They are amazing performers, and I’m honored they are helping raise funds and awareness for the millions of young people my Foundation supports.”

Saturday evening’s highlights will include top-notch epicurean fare and exclusive live and silent auctions featuring one-of-a-kind luxury items. Following the dinner and auctions, the celebration will progress to the Mandalay Bay Events Center stage, where Woods will introduce Grammy Award winners Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young for a rocking concert.

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