Epic Development: Annie Duke League Suspends Brother

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Annie Duke

The Epic Poker League has suspended Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson after news surfaced this week that they were named as defendants in a complaint filed by the US Justice Department against Full Tilt Poker.  The complaint alleges that both Lederer and Ferguson took part in a massive ponzi scheme.

These developments are significant in that the Epic Poker League has come under intense criticism for taking action against certain poker players like Mike Divita, whose name appeared on the sex offender registry, while looking away when it comes to other indiscretions, specifically Lederer and Ferguson’s involvement in Full Tilt Poker.  The once second largest Internet poker company has failed to pay its US customers since an indictment was handed down against two co-founders on April 15.   

The axe finally dropped on both Lederer and Ferguson Wednesday after the US Government announced its latest action against both men. 

Annie Duke, Commissioner for the Epic Poker League, just happens to be Lederer’s half sister.   The League made sure to stress that Annie Duke is a non-voting member of the committee and does not participate in any committee decisions or discussions that involve league member discipline.

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The Epic Poker League might not be through yet, according to PokerNewsReport.com, which noted that even Duke herself has somewhat of a checkered past:

In addition to Andy Bloch (who recused himself from voting on the suspension of Lederer and Ferguson), there are plenty of other players permitted to compete in the Epic Poker league who have a past they – and the league – would rather forget. Dutch Boyd, who reached the final table in the last EPL Main Event, was the man behind PokerSpot – an online poker site, which “disappeared” in 2001 owing players $400,000. Mike Matusow has spent time in jail for drug offences and, of course, there is Annie Duke herself who, although not eligible to compete in any of the EPL Main Events, was getting paid to promote a site that had a long history of multiple cheating scandals and which still owes online poker players $50 million in unpaid cash outs.

The reference to Duke is in regard to UB.com, a website that was profiled on 60 Minutes after it was revealed that a poker pro and one time associate of UB.com, Russ Hamilton, had taken part in an “insider cheating scandal”.  For years, Ms. Duke had acted as the spokeswoman for that company along with Phil Hellmuth. 

An executive in that company was also charged on April 15 with money laundering and bank fraud.  Following the cheating allegations, affected customers were compensated in full. 

Duke has yet to comment about her brother’s suspension on her Twitter page as of the time this article was published. 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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