May 01, 2010

Brushes with Poker Fame—Annette Obrestad

With Berkeley thankfully crashing out for a Saturday afternoon nap, I was catching up on some blog reading when I ran across this lighthearted interview of Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad over at Poker From the Rail.  It's strange to think that in a few short weeks, Annette_15 will finally be old enough to compete for a WSOP bracelet to go with the WSOPE Main Event bracelet she won in 2007 at the age of 18.  I strongly encourage you to read the entire interview, as Annette_15 has some interesting comments on the ladies event, women players, avoiding tilt, and dreaming of poker and Wynn art.

One question/answer caught my eye:
DM: Growing up, were you a troublemaker in school?

AO: I was not. I’ve always been a wonderfully good girl. My friends and I never did anything we shouldn’t. The teachers always liked us…I did as I was told.

Now, by chance, I happened to play 1/2 NL with Annette_15 at the Venetian during the recent IMOP-V.  It was late night/early morning, and my PLO game had just broken.  I was sent to a 1/2 NL table where I took the open seat to the right of a young woman who looked a lot like Annette_15, but I certainly didn't think it was her.  In fact, the thought didn't really cross my mind; after all, why would a polished big name European pro be donking around at 1/2 NL at the Venetian?  She was chatting quietly with a young guy to her left; they were obviously friends playing together. 

At this point, I saw my buddy Fat Jesus sit down to play at a nearby table, and I went over to ask if he had seen our IMOP comrade, Bonnie (notorious for disappearing after 20 or so Coronas).  When I got to his table, he told me that he had played at my table earlier in the evening, and that the young woman was in fact Annette_15, which was confirmed by the dealer.  Of course, that gave me a good facepalm moment as the obvious sunk in to my skull.

I wish I had some great story to tell of a monsterpotten involving Annette_15, but basically, we all just played normal 1/2 NL for a couple of hours.  Annette_15 had a good stack (maybe $400) at one point, but took a couple of bad beats to slip under $100.  After nursing her shortstack a while, she limp-pushed against my BB raise; my QQ held up against her AK, and she busted out.  She sweated her buddy for a few more hands before they left for the night. 

In any event, I was quite impressed with how normal, friendly, and down to earth Annette_15 was that session.  She chitchatted with me and other players about normal poker stuff, she never identified herself nor showed any sign of an ego-trip, she never berated players or dealers, she made a couple of jokes (but none were mean-spirited); essentially, she was a very pleasant player to share a poker session with.

In a day where "bad boys" and "poker brats" are celebrated and publicized, it is refreshing to see such a talented player who is also friendly and dignified at the poker table (which seems consistent with her personality during televised poker events).  Young players (and not just young women) would do well to model their poker game and table behavior after Annette_15.  I will definitely be rooting for Annette_15 to have a successful WSOP run, including a bracelet or three.

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