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by: Bluff Magazine.
Annie Duke is known in the poker community for her tenacity and ability to stick it to the toughest players on the tour. She is the First Lady of poker, and her tough as nails approach leaves pros shaking in their boots. But what people who sit across the felt from Annie Duke don’t normally get to see is the loving mother, and spiritually sound woman that makes her the modern ambassador to the game.
This month Annie Duke, our beloved Poker Girl, isn?t talking about putting opponents on tilt or felting all and sundry, she?s telling you what she is doing to recharge for what will be the toughest competition in poker history ? the 2005 WSOP. But be warned, don?t try this at home fledgling player, you need a black belt in poker and a Master?s in its mechanics before you reach Annie?s ethereal poker plane.

Like most professional poker players, I do not measure the passing of the year by raising a glass of champagne on New Year?s Eve. For serious poker players, the most significant time of year is when the World Series of Poker rolls around.

The excitement I feel WSOP time is hard to explain. But if you think back?way back to when you were six, and you came down the stairs on Christmas morning to discover that Santa has stuffed your stocking with toys, you?ll start to understand my excitement.

You know that the coveted bracelet is to poker players what a Super Bowl ring is to football pros, and what the Green Jacket is to golfers. The chance to win a WSOP tournament is the ultimate dream of every poker player, and every year all my energy goes into that goal. What I?m saying is that I am deadly serious about winning my second bracelet.

The WSOP is a grueling six-week marathon of poker. Every day you must go in completely focused on your game. You have to wake up each day ready to go, hungry for victory and ready to play you?re A-game. It?s a marathon, and you have to be at your absolute best when the race begins. This year, I?m training in a way I have never trained before. My plan is to not play any poker at all (shock, horror!) for the whole of May. A revolutionary approach for me as,in past years, I would been honing my skills with serious training. But (I hope) I?ve been playing long enough now to know that a month off will not degrade my game. And, past experience tells me
that plenty of rest before these grueling six weeks is imperative to my success.

I am taking the first ten days of the month to travel to Italy, without my cell phone or lackberry; I?ll just be relaxing on my first vacation in ten years. I?m sure the mental and physical break will do me a world of good. After Italy I am taking ten days at home to relax with my Children in Portland, then heading off to New York City for an appearance for the new ESPN Poker Club line of chips and poker tables that I endorse. Then?It?s a few extra days to relax in New York, catch some shows, go to some nice restaurants and have some fun.


But the final and most important piece of the relaxation puzzle for me is making sure that I have my children with me throughout the Series. Ever since I moved out of Vegas, I have always had the stress of missing my kids during the WSOP. The WSOP was traditionally held during April and May, so I have been unable to have them with me while I played since that would have involved taking them out of school. This year, because the WSOPhas been moved to June and July, I won?t have that problem. I?ve also resolved to rent a house near my brother, so I will feel like I have a home to return to after each day of the tournament. I?m most relaxed when I know my kids are seeing me everyday and I don?t have to go home to a lonely hotel room.

Knowing that I am about to enter my favorite, most exciting and most stressful time of year, I?m going to make sure I go to the WSOP with as little fatigue as possible. Only time will tell if mine is a winning strategy, but wish me luck! Arrivederci.

You can play poker with Annie at

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