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January 21, 2018

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Duchess of Poker’ Annie Duke to be queen of clubs

Updated Wednesday, July 1, 2009 | 7:15 p.m.

Annie Duke is best known as a professional poker player, but if her social calendar gets much busier she might need to add “socialite” to her list of titles.

The so-called “Duchess of Poker” is the queen of clubs this week with a handful of events and appearances planned away from the card tables.

Duke has a jam-packed party schedule in advance of Ante Up for Africa on Thursday and the big kick-off for Event 57 on Friday. The 13-day World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold 'em tournament is set for the Rio.

Before she takes a seat at the card table, however, Duke will enjoy prime table service at Vegas nightclubs, starting with Lavo tonight.

The one-time “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant will walk the red carpet outside of the Palazzo nightspot at 10 p.m. and doors will open to the public an hour later.

There is an exclusive party at the Palms on Wednesday night, though the guest list for that event is being kept a closely guarded secret.

No bother, though, since getting onto the list and into the party in the famous $40,000-a-night Hugh Hefner Sky Villa is nearly impossible, so even the most dedicated Duke fan wouldn’t be able to talk his or her way into the event.

Thursday, Duke will be back in the very public eye and mix a little business with pleasure at the Rio during the Ante Up for Africa celebrity poker tournament.

She is one of the nonprofit’s co-founders and will be joined Matt Damon, Ben and Casey Affleck, Mekhi Phifer, Jason Alexander, Charles Barkley, Sarah Silverman and another of the charity’s co-founders, Don Cheadle, among several others, for the event.

The 2004 WSOP bracelet winner will do double-duty later that night with appearances at two WSOP-related parties.

The Ante Up for Africa post-poker bash will be held at Pure at Caesars, though Duke has also committed to put in an appearance farther north on The Strip as part of Doyle Brunson’s WSOP party at Blush.

“Entourage” actor and emerging Vegas club star Kevin Connolly, rapper Eve, actor-comedian Mickey Rourke and socialite Nicky Hilton will also be at the party at the Wynn that night.

Assuming all the late nights out at the clubs don’t tire her out, the mother of four will be back at the Rio on Friday as the 40th annual WSOP’s Event 57 gets underway. However, she won't take a seat at a table until she begins playing on Sunday.

"They have four day ones so you get to choose (what day to start playing)," Duke explained. "Ante Up for Africa is such a big deal and obviously we have the afterparty and everything and so I don’t want to play the day after that because I’ll be so exhausted."

"Hopefully I’ll be really well-rested by the time Sunday comes around," she smiled.

The tournament, which lasts nearly two weeks and has a $10,000 buy-in, begins at noon.

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