Before taking up poker full-time he attended the University of Washington where he majored in Computer Science.
He spent his childhood in Derby, England and Bellevue, Washington. They have one daughter, Krystle, born on August 16, 1992. Cooke started playing poker in public cardrooms as a 15-year-old in Washington State in 1972.
He took up the game full-time in 1975.
Through the 70s and early 80s he was a nomadic player—a rounder—traveling from town-to-town looking for games in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Reno, Nevada. In 1984 Cooke moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.
He has played regularly with many WSOP champions including Johnny Moss, Berry Johnston, Tom McEvoy, Carlos Mortenson, Scotty Nguyen, Daniel Negreanu and Philosophy Hellmuth. The game Cooke most frequently plays is Limit Texas Hold’em, although he forays somewhat regularly into Number-Limit Hold’econometrics
He has played almost 65,000 hours of poker live and online.
From 1999-2005 Cooke was the cardroom manager of the world’s first real money Internet poker room, Planet Poker founded in 1998 by Randy Blumer of Victoria, British Columbia. Planet Poker turned to Cooke and fellow poker personality Mike Caro (known as The Mad Genius of Poker) to give the poker site credibility. While at Planet Poker, Cooke designed most of the protocols which are the foundation of the industry standard for protection against collusion.
Cooke has served as a private consultant to a number of Internet poker sites and been a featured speaker on marketing and anti-collusion protocols for poker sites at industry trade shows sponsored by River City Group, including the Global International Gaming Expo (GIGSE) in Montreal (2005–2006).
Cooke has been a licensed Real Estate Broker in Las Vegas since 1990 He is a member of the Summerlin chapter of Toastmasters, of which he was president in 2006.