Okay, so let’s be honest. Penn doesn’t exactly have the most badass reputation. Our mascot is the epitome of peace and nonviolence, our YouTube page puts out feel-good after-school-specials like this gem, and even our esteemed title as the Party-Hardy Ivy is slipping (too soon?). Luckily, amidst all the diplomats and scientists and cave dwellers that we’ve bred in our halls, there’s also Annie Duke. Because you know what is badass? Professional poker.
Annie Duke attended Penn as a grad student for five years, studying Cognitive Psychology. In 1992, she bailed a month before she had to defend her Ph.D. work, proposed to her friend Ben (woo hoo feminism!), and moved to Montana. Not badass enough?
After some money troubles and the mandatory sob story that precedes any tale of success and glory, Duke broke out onto the poker scene and is best known for her appearances at the World Series of Poker tournaments where she has been consistently raking in mad money and has even won the 2004 Omaha Hi-Lo event, earning her one of the highest prestiges, a WSOP bracelet. Which is, you know, a poker trophy.
In 2009, Duke gained further publicity when she partook in the craziest Penn reunion of all time. Duke competed in Donald Trump’s (W’68) The Celebrity Apprentice, notoriously butted heads with Melissa (C’89) and Joan Rivers, and eventually lost to said Proud Penn Parent.
For more information on Annie Duke, be sure to read her book. We didn’t.