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Jenny Woo’s Interview With Celebrity Apprentice Annie Duke (Part 2)

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Mar/17/2009

In the second part of Jenny Woo's interview, Annie Duke discusses further her experiences with Celebrity Apprentice, how she is trying NOT to be like Omarosa, a poker player herself, and provides us more information about her charity work especially as it pertains to Darfur http://www.anteupforafrica.org/).  Ms. Duke also gives us the latest on the Darfur situation, which has just taken a turn for the worst (hard to believe that was even possible).  Be sure to check out Part One of Jenny Woo's Interview With Annie Duke Here

JENNY:   Overall - obviously without giving anything away - How's the experience been for you?

ANNIE:  I can tell you that through episode two - episode one, I felt like was really fun and by the time episode two rolled around I was really unhappy because I was really having so much difficulty communicating to these women; then Joan was so upset about what happened and really blaming me deeply on how that room got divided up.  In some ways, rightly so but it was Khloe's decision finally.  She understood that that I was the one who nudged on that.  Also, Claudia was pretty pissed off at me at that point. I was feeling like I didn't know what to do because I felt like an alien in this group of people.  I really did. 

At that point, Brandy and I really bonded so I sort of had one anchor but beside from that I felt like a total alien in this group.  I would think, "Oh my God.  I think so differently then they do."  I don't think there was ever a point that I was like, "Well I've accomplished this so you should definitely have me do this part of the task and if you have me do this part of the task clearly you're all morons."  That's not in my vernacular.  I really was very iffy at that point on whether I was going to be able to solve this communication issue.  I really at that point was feeling very despondent about whether I was ever going to be able to mirror that communication after all.  At that point I called Joe up, which I said in my blog and I was literally in tears. I was like, "I don't want to be here.  I don't know what to do.  I wish he would just fire me because I can't figure out how to talk to these people." 

You have to understand; you get four hours of sleep a night.  Just a reminder, you get four hours of sleep a night and you hardly get through.  At this point I'm just exhausted, I don't have any nourishment and all that stuff gets to you so the emotional stuff gets to you more.  I thought that I wasn't going to be able to practice in that.  I was thinking, "I don't see how the first time this team loses, how I'm not the one that's going to be on the chopping block. 

The whole team is going to throw me under the bus."  I just felt very desponded that I was going to be able to solve the problem.  Joe and I had a pretty long talk and he basically got me out of my emotionality of what I was feeling because I was tired and I was so hungry.  He kind of snapped me back to reality.  He said, "You do this s**t for a living.  You sit at a table with components and you figure the table out.  This is what you do!  Figure your table out."  That's basically what he said.  And I told him, "You're right."  I thought, I'm at a table full of players that's giving me some difficulties.  I just have to figure it out. 

I go into the next challenge really feeling right and hopefully I do.  People will find out on Sunday (March 15th).  It's just the matter of whether people think that I'm capable of changing gears in terms of my relationship with these people or not because obviously that's going to be necessary.  By the way, it's necessary because if you look at somebody like Omarosa for example who was deeply venomous - in her conflict she made it to the middle of the show and not past.  The reason why was because it was venomous conflict and conflict without work. 

Again, one of the differences is that, you can watch both shows top to bottom and you won't hear me say a bad word about another contestant because I didn't say another word about a contestant.  Obviously, they're trying to paint me as the antagonist.  In order to paint that picture, they would have taken anything I had said.  So I don't say anything bad about other people and I don't say anything venomous or intentionally hurtful.  That's not to say that apparently I didn't hurt some feelings.  I hurt Joan's feelings but not intentionally.  That's one thing that I think that is very important to me as a person is that I want the way of being able to hold my head up high.  Whatever happened on that show, I didn't intentionally hurt anybody and that's something that's extremely important to me. 

JENNY:  In my opinion, it also shows that you're a bigger person as far as not going out there and personally going out there and attacking everyone.  For example, you brought out Melissa's strong points in your blog.

ANNIE:  I don't know if I was the bigger person.  I would say that I think that I'm better taking my emotions out of situations because I'm a poker player; it's kind of looking at the heart of a situation and really breaking it down and analyzing it. 

Someone mentioned that blog to me and what I saw was that I just told the truth.  So that's all that I did was say that people did well and everything was true.  What I said was that people did well - they really did well.  And that's what I really did on the show to tell you the truth.  That's why I don't make any personal and intentional hurtful comments because I think that that's outside of the realm of what the show is suppose to be about.  The show is supposed to be about accomplishing tasks in business.  If you're going to criticize somebody, you should be criticizing on a business case and not on a personal case.  I would never say, "So and so is an idiot."  You know what I mean?

I'm happy to say that, "So and so was assigned to this part of the task and they did not complete it or they did not accomplish it properly."  That I will say.  I knew that I would create some conflict just because of who I am.  But I wanted it to be conflict that wasn't intentional or hurtful and that was also backed up with really hard work.  And that was what was really important to me - was to raise a lot of money for charity and I wanted to make sure that there were people that were working a lot harder than I was.

JENNY:  Well speaking of charity and moving away from the show - You've obviously been busy but has there been any time for tournaments and what's going on with Ante Up For Africa (http://www.anteupforafrica.org/)?

ANNIE:  I've played two WPT's so far since I've gotten back from the show.  I cashed at the Bellagio and just had a horrible LAPC.  It was one of those tournaments where you go in and you feel like you literally never had a shot.  (Haha) It was no bad beats but no good things.  However, I'm heading up to Bay 101 to play on Monday (March 16th) and I'm just trying to get as much in as much as I can so after Bay 101 I think the next tournament I'm playing is the Championship Event and obviously the WSOP comes up from the hills of that. 
Now that the casinos have settle with the WPT, I'm adding a lot of WPT back into my schedule.  Also, I played the NBC Head's Up Challenge and lost to Brad Garrett.  Thank you very much!! (Haha)  I'm clearly and excellent poker player. (Haha).  Lost to the "funny man"!!  (Haha).  I have to say by the way that it was one of the most enjoyable laughs in my life.  First of all, I love Brad - he's really great and so funny!  He just took the sting out of it as I laughed the whole time I was losing.  (Haha).  So that was okay..

In terms of the charity, we're not only a World Series Event this year but we're really excited that it looks like it's going to be filmed TV series event this year.

JENNY:  That's awesome!!!

ANNIE:  I know.  I don't think they've officially decided that but I know that they're thinking about it.  So that's really cool!

JENNY:  Thinking is better than nothing!

ANNIE:  It's an amazing thing for a charity.  We're crossing our fingers that that's going to happen.  That's hopefully going to be a great tournament and hopefully that tournament will withstand the recession as well as you can expect it to.  We're hoping that things will go well there.  Then we have another tournament scheduled in October which is at the Emanuele Casino.  So far we have two tournaments scheduled right now and we're in the middle of talking to some online companies in terms of doing a big sponsorship deal in tournaments in conjunction with that.  As details come up, we'll be to let people know about that.
Another important thing is that I'm hoping that people will be able to go look at sites like Refugees International (http://www.refugeesinternational.org/) right now because I think that people should really educate themselves about what's going on in Darfur.  To give you an idea - when we ran our tournament - actually looked like things were getting better.  There was a lot of aid getting to the victims.  China and Russia stepped in line in terms of authorizing a peace keeping for some sanctions in terms of trying to get the government there to respond in a positive way and move forward.  Everything was really hopeful, literally, just last week, the landscape changed dramatically. 

Basically what happened was that the government there just kicked out all the humanitarian aid even organizations like, "Doctors without Borders" (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/).  Some aid workers and humanitarian workers were actually kidnapped (http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Sudan-Says-Kidnapped-Aid-Workers-In-Darfur-Are-Freed-MSF-Confirms/Article/200903215241596?f=rss), (http://www.iht.com/articles/reuters/2009/03/15/africa/OUKWD-UK-SUDAN-RELEASE.php).  So it's really bad!!  I'm hoping that everyone can go to http://www.refugeesinternational.org/ which has quite a bit of information on there to educate people on what's going on there and people should really educate themselves because that part of the world has disintegrated into a complete mess. 

Nobody knows what's happening because there's no aid getting there.  Nothing is getting in!!  It's really really disastrous with what's happened!  Just recently, humanitarian workers were just kidnapped!  That's scary.  Not good, but that's why something like Ante Up For Africa (http://www.anteupforafrica.org/) is an organization we need because who's going to pay attention!

One of the great pieces of news is that if you look at Refugees International (http://www.refugeesinternational.org/) and the Enough Project (http://www.enoughproject.org/), one of the main focuses for them is to create political change.  I think - right now- more than ever that's where the focus should be.  Link up not only to "Ante Up For Africa", but also to the "Enough Project" (http://www.enoughproject.org/).

Thank you.  Just to let people know, I'm playing for (Annie Duke's Charity) Refugees International (http://www..refugeesinternational.org/) on the Celebrity Apprentice.  They're an organization that gives money to charities that we thought were appropriate.  These organizations are more important than ever because they're the ones that are going to effect the type of political change that will really going to make a difference.

JENNY:  Were you able to give much publicity to those organizations?

ANNIE:  I think that one of the great things about The Celebrity Apprentice is that the organizations naturally get a lot of publicity.  You go onto the NBC website and there are all the contestants and charities that they're playing for.  One of the really nice things that I think about with The Celebrity Apprentice is that - one of the players don't have to do well in order for their charity to get a lot of publicity.  Which I think is really good.  Think of the publicity for the charity - it's obviously invaluable.  The other thing that was cool for me was that - obviously on the first task when I got Erik Seidel to come in and all this stuff to donate money.  That money went to a very good cause regardless of whether it was "quote or unquote" it was my cause or not.  That's something that I think is really cool is that it gives you the opportunity to get money to a lot of really worthy causes because we can only focus on so many places. 

There are obviously sixteen great charities on the show and a lot of them benefiting financially and if I get to be a part of that benefit to those organizations then that's really cool.

JENNY:  Thank you so much for sitting down with me again as I know that you're busy.

ANNIE:  You're fine! I'm just talking as I'm prepping to get on a plane for Vegas.  (Haha).

Be sure to check out UltimateBet.com - proudly represented by Annie Duke. 

Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent 

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