Unlike the two Day 1 heats of this Andy Black. A familiar face to anyone even remotely interested in poker, Black began the day in the top half of the chip counts and quickly increased his holdings, pulling even with the group of players who would swap the chip lead back and forth before it finally came to rest in his hands.
Despite being a practicing Buddhist, Black didn't demonstrate a whole lot of passivity today, nor did he pull any punches when it came to dispatching his fellow Irish pros. Black sent a short-stacked John Conroy to the rail early in the afternoon and, after his table broke and he found a new seat directly to the left of old-schooler Liam Flood, he continued his Irish-on-Irish rampage by closing the Flood gates and eliminating his countryman.
While Black holds a substantial lead at the moment, with over $350,000, the player who finished the day in second has more than enough ammo to inflict some serious damage. Annette Obrestad, aka Annette_15, aka the unassuming Norwegian 19-year-old who haunts the nightmares of tournament players worldwide, will begin Day 3 with almost $285,000 in chips.
Obrestad, who has made a sick amount of money online since the age of 15 and who won the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event for $2 million, got off to a slow start and demonstrated unusual discipline in the early stages of this event. She came into today above average but once the blinds began to rise she chipped up quickly, primarily by picking on players with pre-flop re-raises and post-flop aggression.
One player who fared particularly badly against the young Scandinavian was Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano. Obrestad was seated directly to his left for much of the afternoon and went to work, constantly re-popping his opening raises and, when he decided to call, blowing him off hands after the flop. One hand stood out as a good example of how she is able accomplish the intimidating feat of taking down big pots regardless of which two cards she holds at the time. Thanks to a top-secret contact PL.com has cultivated in the Norwegian media, we have a little extra information, giving us an inside look at what she's really capable of.
Pagano opened the pot to $6,000, with blinds of $1,000/$2,000, and Obrestad stayed in character by re-popping to $16,000. Pagano made the call and they both watched the flop come out ace-high. Obrestad pulled the trigger again and the Italian was forced to release his hand. The insider info we were able to recover was her hole cards, nothing but 2-3 off-suit. This is just one instance, and not a huge pot, but it's easy to see the advantages of this style when employed consistently.
The PL.com reporting team, and everyone back in our native Canadia, had high hopes for Mike Mcdonald who was here representing all the Canucks. He finished his Day 1 heat as chip leader and managed to get his mittens on plenty more chips this afternoon, until suffering a devastating one-two punch from two of the players we've discussed so far.
Andy Black dealt the first blow, doubling through Mcdonald after getting all-in with an overpair to the Canadian's pair and flush draw combo. The Irishman's hand held up, relieving Mike of a frighteningly large portion of his chips. Mcdonald was able to partially rebuild before getting involved in, and losing, the most important coin-flip of the tournament so far.
The pot in question was opened by a player in middle position and re-raised by Mcdonald who held pocket jacks. Obrestad, never one to be frightened by action in front of her, re-popped enough to put both players all-in while holding A-Q. The original raiser got out of the way but Mcdonald, perhaps suspecting Obrestad of exactly the kind of moves for which she's best known, made the call and the next thing we knew he was on his way out.
Also in on tomorrow's action is Annette's fellow Scandinavian, and infamous online specialist, Johnny Lodden. J-Lo is sitting in fifth with just over $200,000. Thierry Van Den Berg, Ludovic Lacay, Noah Boeken, Kristian Kjondal and Luca Pagano will also be in attendance and for a full rundown of everyone's respective chip counts, as well as detailed reports of all the hands discussed here and more, click through to our Live Updates Page.
Day 3 is just around the corner so we strongly suggest you get some rest and hit us back tomorrow at 2 p.m. (GMT) because we know how grumpy you can get without a good night's sleep.