While Annie Duke was making appearances at Harrah’s Resort this weekend, poker players around the country were watching her score a major win on NBC’s National Heads-up Poker Championship against Eric Seidel. The $500,000 win actually came in March, but was shown on NBC Sunday. Duke won the final hand when her pocket 9s held up against ace-deuce.
In our recent talk with Duke, she says the win was a bit of a vindication for her since she doesn’t play as many tournaments as other pros, instead focusing on her family and charity work.
“The thing is that I play so much less poker than my peers,” Duke says. “And while I understand what the balance of my life is, and why I focus on other things like my children and my charity work, sometimes I hear the whispers of ‘She’s not really a poker player,’ or ‘She’s not good and she hasn’t been playing.’
“So to be able to pick off that particular tournament — because the heads-up format takes a lot of skill, and it’s a really big tournament — It’s just nice because you sort of feel like, ‘So there. Look I can still play.”
She also pointed out that she recently had a 19th place finish at a tournament at the Commerce Casino in California which attracted more than 700 players. She feels the two strong showings prove she’s still on her game.
“It says, look, I really am playing well,” she says. “And I deserve to win this and I do take the game seriously. Poker is still a centerpiece of my life and I do care whether I’m good at it.”
Not sure who’s saying she isn’t good, but we’re with you Annie.
In another headline, Phil Ivey — who we always like to keep track of because of his A.C. roots — now has a poker room named after him at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. If you want to play there, however, you better bring some cash. The Associated Press reports the room is a one-table, high-limit room.
“I come from nothing, and now I’m here… I never thought there would be a poker room named after me. I never thought poker would be televised … I was just a kid who had a passion for poker, and I’m very grateful for my life,” Ivey told PokerNews. “No one has any idea how much this means to me.”
The room was opened this weekend with a $1 million, invitation only freeroll tournament.