Meet the 5 Most Unlikely Casino Pros

The world of poker draws people of all walks of life to its ranks. It is one of the only fields in which your past means absolutely nothing. With poker, the only thing that matters is your winnings. It is one of truest meritocracies, and because of that, attracts successful business men with the same frequency as it does housewives. Over the years, anyone who has enjoyed watching poker coverage on the various networks has been treated to a number of individuals that have seemed, well, unlikely to be considered a professional gambler.

That is not to say that it is a surprise that these players have been successful, but rather that it a surprise that they are professionals in the first place. Before poker received the coverage that is has today, the general consensus of the image of the professional gambler was that of either George Clooney or Brad Pitt from Oceans 11. The reality could not be farther from the truth. Below is a list of just a few poker professionals that don’t fit the traditional image.


Annie Duke


Annie Duke is one of the most accomplished female poker players of all time. She started playing in Montana after leaving graduate school in the early 1990’s. Around that time, she also got married and started a family. Today, she is single again, and has four children. She became a public figure in early 2004 after tutoring Ben Affleck in Poker. He would go on to win the California State Poker Championship. Her brother is fellow poker professional Howard Lederer.


Almira Skripchenko


Nothing breaks the George Clooney mold like a female French chess player that is the daughter of a Ukranian father and an Armenian mother. Almira has won many awards for chess throughout her life, but only starting getting involved in poker in the last five years or so. Granted, she is still technically a part time professional, but her earnings in this short period of time have exceeded $250,000.


Annette Obrestad


Annette is a Norwegian who holds the distinction of being the youngest person to win a WSOP bracelet. She made her mark playing online poker when she was 15 years old. Even more interesting, she never deposited money into an account with these online sites, but rather bankrolled her playing by winning freeroll tournaments. In just her first year of playing, she won over $500,000 through PokerStars, $200,000 through UltimateBet, and $135,000 through Full Tilt Poker. She is currently signed with Lock Poker.


Erica Schoenberg


Sometimes, it isn’t where someone is from that makes them unique, it is the road they take to get there that is. With Erica, much of her childhood was spent at the track with her dad. She eventually went to college and even tried some odd jobs along the way after school, but nothing stuck. That is, until she found herself playing in a blackjack tournament. Gambling was back in her life, and the rest was history.


Liz Lieu


While some people don’t find their calling until later in life, sometimes you know by the time you are 13. With Liz, who moved to the United States from Vietnam was she was a baby, that is definitely the case. She was introduced to poker when she was 13 and it instantly took hold of her. Not only is she fiercely competitive, but she is also altruistic. Since 2005, she has donated 20% of her tournament winnings to charity.

Rose Pratt

Rose Pratt is an experienced blogger specialized on everything and anything related to the entertainment industry. If you want to check the latest celebrity news or find an honest review about Las Vegas hottest spots, she is the one.

  • I didn’t realize Annie Duke’s brother was fellow poker professional Howard Lederer. Wow. Nice article. lucky134me

  • Rock on Ladies! eaysh

  • you ladys are great and one day i would like to take your place. getgal

  • cindyeadeh

    cindyeadeh very lucky ladies

  • Women rule!

  • well they are much better looking than clooney and pitt and im sure better at poker and lots of other things too GO GIRLS!!!!!!!! jamie664

  • Have a lot of respect for professional ‘players’ that give back to the community, You go Liz Lieu!!! Follow your dreams and Good Luck!! AFwife

  • Great to see Liz Leui give back from her winnings!! Way to go and good luck for the future Liz! You rock…Just like SOV:)

  • I would love to be able to meet these lovely ladies at a poker table some day.PatTouchet

  • Good seeing someone having fun again it’s time for a change this year

  • beautiful and smart!!!!! Wish I had their knowledge for poker!!! viggy00

  • All 5 ladies have what it takes. E0k125

  • All 5 ladies are awesome and have what it takes.

  • deedee- See women can compete in what is supposedly a man’s world. I wish I was a smart as they are because I love to play poker, which is what I normally play at a real casino.

  • The mind holds the same knowledge as your hands. That is why you do what u do in a poker game. Keep up the great playing ladies. username: Bert007

  • deedee- I think these women are great. It goes to show men we can complete in a supposedly man’s game. I only wish I were as good as they are because at a real casino I usally play blackjack,

  • I think they are All very accomplished..and would love to play poker with any or all of them. Cooper2win.

  • Unlikely? I think not. These women are gifted with instinct, intuition and a drive to win. The components necessary to being a winner. They also had the fortitude to pursue something that gives them a great deal of Joy and self satisfaction. I am sure each of them uses their winnings to “Pay it Forward” in some manner or another. Unlikely … no….Exceptional … Absolutely. AStateOfWin

  • I knew it was possible to make something out of freeroll play!! Not giving up yet thanks to Annette!