Annie Duke: Talented, and tormented
When I heard that Annie Duke had written a story about her life, I knew at worst it would be interesting, at best fascinating.
Having just put down Annie's book How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and won millions, I am left feeling both inspired by, and sorry for Annie.
The book is written in a 'cutaway' style, where time constantly cuts back and forth between the present day (the day Annie won her bracelet in 2004), and the past (Annie's life story). Duke and co-author David Diamond present what at times is a stark, often shocking story of a woman whose fears, and psychological challenges are often paralyzing, and prevent her from achieving what everyone wanted for her....except what she wanted for herself.
If I had to summarize this book in one word, it would be: Honest. Duke should be commended for opening up her life, and showing how fears, and mental imbalance can rule and indeed take over a life...if you let them.
The poker content, while interesting at times is really not the most compelling part of the book. Sure, Duke does offer some tips, and some advice in specific tournament situations, but I think the people who could probably be the most helped by this book are young women who may be feeling the same way Annie did, and may be helped by her candor.
Duke recounts from an early age how she was initiated into an ultra competitive household. How she was taught to win at all costs, and show no emotion - two traits that wound up serving her well in her chosen occupation. Having read Annie's sister Katy's book about growing up in the same family, I was a bit surprised at how different the two women's experiences were growing up in the same household. Or, at least how differently they spoke of those experiences.
You feel for Duke, as she recounts the challenges of trying to balance family, poker, and an ever increasing fame. Again, her honesty about her marriage, and subsequent divorce is refreshing, and at times you really feel for this woman.
The book kind of reads in a staccato manner - with the jumps from present to past often being slightly distracting to a fluid read. The writing does seem natural, however, and this does feel like a first person account.
Overall, I would say if you are interested in what Annie Duke has to say, you should definitely go out, and pick up this book. If you want this book because you think it will help your poker game, then maybe your hard earned money can be spent better elsewhere. If you have a daughter, or young friend that looks up to Annie, and may be going through some of the same things Annie went through, your money would be very well spent on How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and won millions.
The book will be available September 8th in stores everywhere.
Ed note: Annie Duke plays at Ultimate Bet shouldn't you?