In September 2007 an 18-year-old girl from Norway named Annette Obrestad hit the live poker stage with a bang.
One day before her 19th birthday she won the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event and £1m in prize money. That made her the youngest bracelet winner in the history of the WSOP.
However, she had already caught the attention of the poker community two months earlier when she won a 180-player sit-and-go without looking at her hole cards.
Challenge: Win a 180-player SnG without checking your cards
Record Holder: Annette Obrestad (NOR)
Date: July 2007
Why Play Blind?
Obrestad's decision to play the tournament blind was based on her growing understanding No-Limit Hold'em is more about position and reading your opponent than the actual cards you hold.
At low-limit poker she also expected to deal with a lot of “loose-passive limpers” who would fold every hand post-flop if they don’t hit.
Obrestad said later about the challenge: “I had done that on a regular basis before playing $30, $40 and $50 sit-and-gos. But the tournament that was recorded was actually the first and only time I did it for the public.”
Annette_15, which was her online nickname, stuck a post-it sticker to the monitor where her hole cards were so she couldn't see them.
She actually did check her cards one single time when someone put her all-in and she contemplated whether to call or fold.
After the tournament, she posted the complete hand history on the coaching site PokerXFactor.com.
As it turns out she had laid a couple of really lucky suck-outs on some of her opponents but she had also folded pocket kings and aces pre-flop.
In the coming years Annette showed that she knew how to play with and without checking her hole cards.
The woman from Sandnes in Southern Norway is now leading her national money ranking list with $3.9 million in live tournament winnings.
Rules of the Challenge
Play one single $4 SnG with 180 players. Do not check your hole cards.
Annette broke that rule once to decide whether she should call an all-in or not.
At the World Series of Poker this past summer Obrestad spoke with PokerListings about how she sees that challenge today: