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"How I... Won Millions at the WSOP" Review

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TitleHow I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the WSOP
AuthorAnnie Duke (with David Diamond)
Skill Levelany
ProsEngaging history plus helpful insets with twenty poker playing tips.
ConsMore than you probably want to know about Duke's health issues.

Table of Contents
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viiSo Here's the Deal on Poker
ixI Never Set Out to Become a Professional Poker Player
15/9/04; 2004 WSOP $2k O8 and $1k Ladies LHE & WSOP History starting w/ founding of Las Vegas1
13Poker History starting with Cards in China 9th c.2
255/9/04; Limit O8 tourney w/ Men Nguyen3
37Family History from parents meeting to gymnastics at age 84
455/9/04; Limit O8 100/200 (200-400 bets) level5
51Family History: playing cards as "safety zone"6
565/9/04; Limit O8 dinner break7
65Family History: Howard in school then NY before college (less than a semester at Columbia)8
715/9/04; Limit O8 Howard at table9
77NYC Poker Clubs and D's time in NY; panic disorder; UPENN10
855/10/04; Limit O8 blinds 1k/1.5k11
93UPENN; worked on dissertation and taught 5 years; meets Ben Duke and proposes to him12
1015/10/04; Limit O8 FT; blinds 2k/3k (3k-6k)13
111Columbus, MT w/ Ben14
1195/10/04; Limit O8 5-way; 3k/5k (5k-10k); when 5th busts, D is #1 woman in winnings again ahead of Nani Dollison15
127Billings, MT (poker game in Crystal Lounge basement)16
1375/10/04; Limit O8 Seidel busts Ray Bonavida in 4th17
139Howard helps Annie w/ poker advice (starting w/ The Theory of Poker and Super System books); starts winning and moves to Las Vegas to help Howard w/ sports book and play poker18
1535/10/04; Limit O8 D busts Seidel out in 3rd19
159Ben agrees to stay in Vegas for 5 years; Annie pregnant20
1655/10/04 9:04 p.m.; Limit O8 HU w/ Ron Graham21
1735/10/04 9:50 p.m.; Limit O8 6k/12k then 8k/16k; G down to 28k and D wins hand to take first bracelet (from Matt Savage) and $137,860.23
1772000 WSOP ME 38 weeks pregnant! Both H and A run bad and dissolve backing agreement24
191Limit O8 called friends and family and partied25
193Book deal, possible movie deal (didn't happen), sitcom deal (didn't happen)26
19910-player TOC w/ $2m 1st prize27
211Words to Play By
224Poker Fundamentals: Ranking of Hands
225How Betting Works
226Poker Strategy
229Reading the Other Players
230Types of Play
233The Rules of Texas Hold 'em
235Omaha Hi-Lo Split
239People to Watch {bios of players featured in book}
259About the Author

Note: Book does not have a table of contents, and chapters are simply numbered.

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Annie Duke's biography, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the WSOP, mostly alternates between poker and personal chapters. The poker side starts with the history of playing cards in China in the 9th century but then primarily recounts the 2004 World Series of Poker $2,000 Limit Omaha 8-or-Better tournament. The family side begins with Duke's parents' initial meeting and their family life in New Hampshire before Duke moves to New York City, Philadelphia, Columbus (Montana), and Las Vegas.

Growing up in northern New England with her intellectual parents, older brother Howard Lederer, and younger sister Katy, who had told her own version of the story two years earlier in Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers,1 Duke paints a picture of a somewhat dysfunctional family, primarily because of her mother's drinking, who dreamed of being an actress, not a housewife.

After Duke survives her childhood, she follows Howard to New York City. He had already joined the poker and gambling world, but Annie was focused on school until she meets, proposes to, and marries Ben Duke.2 Only when she was off in Montana questioning her career choice does she take up poker, with technical and later financial help from Howard.

Eventually, Duke decides to become a professional poker player, moves her family to Las Vegas, and starts winning. That leads to the other half of the book, where she competes at the World Series of Poker. The book covers many Omaha hands, supplementing their instructional value with occasional insets containing general playing tips.

Overall, How I Raised... is a great look at what makes one of the top female players tick. It's heavier on the autobiography side than the poker strategy side but can be read for either or both.

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