As a child, Lederer and his two sisters, Annie and Katy, were encouraged to play cards together with their parents as an opportunity for the family to spend time together.
Following college, Lederer moved to New York to pursue chess, a game he was very passionate about. He then soon discovered poker in a back room of a chess club. For two years, he played poker constantly for about 70 to 80 hours per week, going home broke 9 out of 10 nights. He earned his nightly stake by being the errand boy for the other players. Once he realized the toll that the all-nighters were taking on him and his game, he re-adjusted his schedule to get more rest and saw his game improve.
He then began playing poker at the Mayfair Club in New York, a legendary gaming club that was home to some of the best gamers in the world. There he became part of a world-class circle of players who eventually experimented with No-Limit Hold ‘em once it was introduced in New York City. They played daily at the Mayfair from about 4:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Not only did they take strides in their game, but the camaraderie had an educational value itself, as they discussed their games and talked about poker. Alongside Lederer at this time were Erik Seidel, Steve Zolotow, Dan Harrington, and Jay Heimovitz.
By the late 1980s, Lederer began working with his sister, Annie Duke, on her poker game. He encouraged her to play in the WSOP, for which she is now the biggest winning female in the history of the series, knocking Lederer out three times, once at a $10K final table. In 1994, the two made history as the first brother/sister to make it to the same final table in the WSOP.
As a natural step, in 1993 Lederer moved to Las Vegas to take his game to the next level. He played mainly cash games until 2002 when the World Poker Tour started hosting monthly events. He continued to improve and he won his first Hall of Fame Poker Classic events in 1994. He won the same tournament again in 1995 on the Deuce to Seven Draw event.
He steadily continued working for five years. It was then, at the 2000 WSOP that he won his first WSOP gold bracelet on the $5,000 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event. The following year, at the 2010 WSOP, he won his second bracelet on the $5,000 Deuce to Seven event.
In November 2002, he won his first WPT Championship at Foxwoods and his second in 2003 on the Poker Million cruise. One month later, he won his first Bellagio Five-Star World Poker Classic in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold 'em event just to turn around and win his second in 2004 on the same event. Thirteen days later, he won his third in the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament.
After this point, his career was focused on training up-and-coming poker pros and coaching other players, which earned him the nickname, “The Professor.” In 2004, he was also a part of the visionary team that would design a poker site by poker players, for poker players, Full Tilt Poker. You can now learn from him at the Full Tilt Poker Academy.
What you may not know about Lederer is that he had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight and has since been a vegetarian, and then made a bet with David Grey for $10,000 that he would eat meat and then proceeded to eat a cheeseburger just to get the $10,000. Now that’s an easy $10 grand.