August 14, 2010

Girl, Irritated

Tonight I finally caught up on my TiVo'd WSOP 2010 episodes.  As usual, early round coverage focused on various celebrities and poker royalty as ESPN sought to manufacture a story.  During one episode, ESPN featured several hands involving WSOPE main event champion Annette Obrestad (a/k/a Annette_15) as she played in her inaugural WSOP Main Event.  Although she came into the WSOP with high hopes and high pressure, Obrestad's results were rather pedestrian, if not disappointing.

Now, I have previously played poker at the same cash game table as Obrestad during IMOP-V.  I found Obrestad to be a very pleasant, humble, and fun player.  Watching her during the WSOP coverage, Obrestad showed a markedly different attitude of arrogance mixed with petulance:
  • After two-barrel bluffing with ATs on a Queen-high board, she gave up on the river when a second 8 hit the board, giving her opponent trips (he had middle pair with the 8 on the flop).  She whined about how she could have bluffed her opponent off any other river card.
  • She pushed all-in with 99 on a Ten-high board, and made a sharp remark about slowrolling when her opponent thought briefly before calling with JJ.  She managed to suck out another 9 to stay alive, and was admittedly rather gracious in acknowledging she had gotten lucky.
  • In the hand that spelled her WSOP Main Event doom, Obrestad again pushed all-in on a Nine-high flop with just AJ, and complained about her opponent calling her with QQ, claiming that she thought her opponent could never call her with an overpair.
Although I was rooting for Obrestad to have some real success, I found her attitude both surprising and disappointing.  Now, to be fair, Obrestad is nowhere near the level of poor sportsmanship exhibited by a significant number of male players over the years, including notables like Phil Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Eric Molina, Hevad Khan, and Shawn Sheikhan, among other infamous poker d-bags.  In fact, Obrestad was probably no worse than any of the hundreds of generic whiny poker players in the Main Event field, most of whom were never within 50 yards of the TV table, and all of whom returned home to regale their buddies with tales of how they busted out on Day 1 because a bunch of yahoos made a ton of donkey plays.

Obrestad is clearly an incredibly talented player who will likely continue to have great success in poker (Exhibit A is her amazing laydown of 44 after flopping 4s full of Yaks, only to have her opponent turn Yaks full of 7s).  I guess I had just expected, or at least hoped, her elite talent would be accompanied by a more decorous attitude.

Girl Interrupted at Her Music—Johannes Vermeer

(image via Wikipedia commons)


  1. I have no basis for this thought other than simply that I'd like to believe it, but I'm guessing she was feeling the pressure. I'd like to believe that the next time or two around, she'll be more mature about it. We'll see.

  2. she was a whiny baby, wasnt she?! And yeah the boat laydown was amazing, but it was tempered by the terrible jacks laydown an orbit later. Maybe she was just playing scared at the beginning, then got irrationally mad that they were bullying her, so started getting reckless and nasty.

    -dawn summers

  3. @ "Dawn Summers": I forgot to mention the horrid JJ laydown. I was shocked she laid it down, given her little slowroll accusation when someone didn't snap call with JJ on a similar flop against her later on. Obviously we weren't treated to all of the prior hands that factored into her decision, but it just seemed like a Yak-friendly situation.

  4. ESPN's coverage of the Main Event falls into the same category as those new Hyundai commercials: "uncensored" (but heavily edited!). Someone choose to highlight those hands, for whatever reason, and they made her look whiny or foolish or whatever. Which isn't the same as saying she isn't, but I wouldn't use only the ME coverage to judge her. I'm just saying...

  5. She is obviously still REALLY young and has already had great success. This has put her on the spotlight right away. She speaks her mind, you have to be able to think at her level to understand the comments she made.
    I personally love her, she is quite refreshing and exudes raw talent. If the cameras were almost constantly pointing at some of you guys while you play I am sure many people would misinterpret or criticize some of your actions. Possibly unfairly. Think about it.
    One more thing, when she held the 9s against the Yaks she was quite short and that's why in that situation it was difficult to believe that an overpair would not insta-call. When she had the Yaks she gave credit to the other guy for a strong hand and realize that she could jeopardize her tournament on that hand, hence elected to lay them down.

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