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Anna Wroblewski: Fun at the Poker Table
Anna Wroblewski set the forums on fire back in April after winning a $3,000 No-Limit preliminary event at the Five Star World Poker Classic. Who is this girl and where did she come from, the regular armchair rounders wanted to know.
All of a sudden she was everywhere: playing the seat she won at the World Poker Tour Championship, finishing fourth at a World Series of Poker No-Limit tournament and this week, competing at the WPT Legends of Poker event at the Bicycle Casino in L.A.
Unlike some of her peers, Wroblewski lasted longer than the first few levels, leading in chips early in the tournament and putting on a solid performance throughout Day 2. Shortly before she spoke with PokerListings.com during the last break, her tablemate, Gavin Smith, busted from the tournament courtesy of a bad beat delivered by Miami John Cernuto.
So there was a big bust-out with Gavin Smith at your table.
Oh that? I got too nervous and ran off. I just don't like watching because I know what's going to happen already. Somebody's going to get a bad beat and I don't like to know - I'll find out when I get back.
Do bad beats still bother you?
No no. I just didn't want to sit there because I'm sleepy. I'm falling asleep; I haven't slept for two days. I slept like 12 hours the day before and I can never sleep for more than seven hours. If I sleep more than seven I get over-antsy, so I have to stay awake for two days straight for me to fall asleep again. It's always been like that. I just don't need much sleep.
So how are things looking for you?
I don't know - tough table. I keep getting somewhere and lose my way and get back on track and then I lose again. So I'm staying pretty consistent: up and down, $50,000 at a time. (Laughs.)
What are you at for chips?
No clue. Over a hundred at least but I started the day with $105,000, lost like $70,000 of it. I just lost some key hands and trying to hard bluffing. Nobody folds; they all have good reads and they're all really good, so it's tough.
Did you have any key hands?
I had one. I doubled up maybe half an hour ago. I had Q-J with a jack of clubs and the little blind, Danny Wong, he raised and I called and the flop came queen-high all clubs. We both checked the flop. The turn is like, the five of diamonds maybe, nothing changed. I check, he bets $12,000 or $13,000 - I can't remember - I check-raised him $15,000 more and he went all in. It really didn't make sense so I called him and he had pocket jacks and nothing came and I won. So that was a good hand. If I didn't win that hand I wouldn't be back to where I was; I would be a short stack.
You seemed to come out of nowhere winning the prelim event before the WPT championship - but that's hardly ever the case. What's your poker background?
I've been playing off and on for about three years. My greatest break was just recently. Like every pro, when I started I went broke the first couple times and tried again and got lucky. I'm just on a nice run and trying to make the best of it.
Yeah, I heard you were having some tough times before your big win.
I accumulated a lot of debts last year when I first started playing. I was doing well and then I went on a really bad streak - well, I played bad too - and I took a couple loans. When I got back to the poker scene I started making money but I was paying off my debts as I make them. So I'm always broke because I don't like having debts when I have the money to pay them. I just ended up paying off a lot and giving money to family.
I got a job to see what happens and my boss gave me $400 to play and he was like, "If you win, give me some, if you don't, it's okay." And I ended up satelliteing into a $2,000 event first and from the $7,000 I gave him 20% of it back. And then I satellited into the $3,000 event and that's the one I won. Since then I've been on a pretty hot streak.
Yeah - you made that World Series of Poker final table.
I did, I did. I got fourth place. It was pretty amazing I got there just because I was down to $13,000 in chips when the blind was $2,000/$4,000 and I went all-in under the gun with - well, it was the best hand I saw, Q-7 off-suit - and they all fold. That was very lucky because anybody should have called me there. And I went on a crazy rush and ended up being one of the chip leaders. By the time the final table came I think I was third or fourth; I can't remember.
But it was cool being there. I was excited to have a chance to win a bracelet . That would have created some news. But I wasn't really expecting it. I was just doing the best I could and I went on a cold deck for two hours straight at the final table and everybody kept moving all-in. I was just like, "okay, whatever." I made one great lay down there; I laid down A-K pre-flop to A-Q. So I was pretty happy with how I played at the final table.
Well, you seem like a fun person. I've seen photos of you having a beer at the table. How do you feel coming into tournaments? Are you pretty relaxed?
Well, the way I look at it mostly is that my buy-in's already gone and I've just got to play how I play. I can't be worried about losing the money because the money's already gone. I've just got to do what I have to do and win it. Sometimes I make great moves and sometimes I make wrong moves but there's always other tournaments.
I think I do seem to have more fun than other people at the poker table. It's not that I don't care, but if I were to be upset with everything that happens around me I wouldn't be able to play poker. It's just too much stress.
How do you deal with bad beats?
I tell people they play good. (Laughs.) Compliment them! Compliments help. You just can't let it get into your head. I take walks a lot and I've started smoking again. (At this time, Barry Greenstein has joined Wroblewski in the parking lot where she is enjoying a stress-relieving cigarette. He wraps his arms around her in a hug and gives her a kiss on the side of the head.)
Are you mentoring Barry here?
We're buddies. (Anna gives Barry a hug.)
Barry, what do you think of Anna's hot streak right now?
She's not on a hot streak; she's just a good player. She's going to get hotter than this.
At the end of the Day 2, Wroblewski had $232,000 in chips, ensuring her a Day 3 seat at the tournament. And if Greenstein's prediction is correct, she's not to be counted out for Day 4 either.