Poker MomsWhen Ben Affleck went looking for a personal poker tutor he didn't pick some cigar-smoking casino tough guy. He wanted one of the best, so he called on Annie Duke â€” a mother of four and one of the top poker players in the world.
Poker was once thought of as a game exclusively played by men, but today there are a growing number of professional poker-playing moms. Duke is one of the best of them.
When the World Series of Poker invited the top 10 players in the world to compete in their Tournament of Champions at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Duke was the only woman asked to participate.
The 39-year-old Las Vegas mom faced off against some of poker's greatest players, including poker legend Johnny Chan.
For Duke, the tournament was bittersweet. During one of the day's more dramatic moments, she knocked out the very man who taught her how to play the game â€” her brother Howard.
But in the end, he would be proud. The last man standing that day wasn't a man at all.
Duke took home a $2 million pot â€” the largest single jackpot ever won by a woman.
"Being a woman, in general, is an advantage, because the men, mainly the young guys, don't give you the respect at the table," says Clonie Gowen, a mother of two from Dallas who made a name for herself when she won the World Poker Tour's Ladies Night.
Gowen says many of the young, male players don't take women seriously, and that's a big mistake.
"They don't seem to respect women and they just want to overpower you at the table," says Gowen. "Usually when they're trying to overpower you, they should be folding their hands."
As women continue to make their way on the professional poker circuit, there will undoubtedly be more Dukes and Gowens â€” making the colorful world of professional poker a bit more colorful.