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Annette Obrestad on top of the World (Series of Poker Europe)
Annette Obrestad has gone where no man, or woman, has gone before.
During the early morning hours on Monday, Sept. 17, Obrestad won the very first World Series of Poker Europe Main Event to the delight of a cheering audience. Obrestad's victory is impressive on many levels. She is only 18 years old and she is, of course, a she. That means, if this event is counted as an actual main event, she shattered two records and it's likely those records will stand for a very long time.
Obrestad, who is known online as Annette15, was a dominant force at the final table and that was no easy task. With a large number of hyper-aggressive Scandinavians at the table Obrestad proved that she would not be bullied and that she could be just as crazy when she wanted to be.
After two hours of heads-up play against a skilled player in John Tabatabai, Obrestad finally got the upper hand and claimed victory.
PokerListings spoke with her moments after her big win. Here's what she had to say:
Annette, I heard you just got off the phone with your mother, was she excited that you won?
I didn't manage to get through but I'm sure she will be!
When you got to the final table was there a particular player that you were worried about?
Well I was kind of scared of Johannes [Korsar] because I'd heard he was a really good player, probably the best at the table besides maybe Theo Jorgensen.
What did you think of heads-up play?
Well when we started the blinds were so low that there was room for a lot of play. Either player could pretty much do whatever they wanted so it took a lot of patience to win.
How long have you been playing poker?
I've been playing for about two and a half years now mostly all online.
Is it true that you've never made a deposit and you've essentially freerolled yourself to where you are now?
Yeah that's true. I played Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo for play money at one online poker room for awhile and then I went to another poker site and won a $9 freeroll and I've been building since then.
You've got a killer poker face, any secret to it?
I just don't want to give anything away because I know other people are very good at reading people and I suck at reading people!
Has the transition from online to live poker been difficult?
Yeah it took me about a month to feel comfortable with it but after enough live tournaments you get used to it.
What was the most challenging part of switching to live?
Just setting a routine that you do over and over again so that people aren't able to read you. I didn't have to make huge changes to my game.
Did playing online help you learn the game faster?
Oh for sure. I've played thousands of tournaments online. Most professionals only play 60 or so live tournaments a year so I think I have an advantage there.
Do you plan on staying in Norway for awhile?
Yeah right now I'm enjoying it. When I get a bit older I might think about moving out to Las Vegas with my Mom or something.
It seems like Scandinavians play some exceptionally strong poker, no matter the gender. Any idea why that is?
I have no idea! They're all extremely aggressive in poker so that might be something to do with it.
Were you surprised to win the Main Event with such a dominant hand?
Yeah, I really thought it would come down to a coin flip situation or something like that. When I hit a set on the flop I thought I might get some action because there were so many draws on the board. When he raised I was already thinking, "Oh $%&! I'm going to win the World Series of Poker!" It was so sick. It really was.
What are you going to do with the money?
No idea. Me and my Mom will probably buy a new house.
What's the next live tournament you think you will play?
Well I'm thinking about making an appearance in Aruba.
What does it mean to you to be the first woman to win a WSOP Main Event? Are you proud?
It was so crazy. Of course I'm proud. That, along with being the youngest bracelet winner in any country is sick. It's just so sick.
Thanks so much, Annette, enjoy your night.
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Obrestad may have just changed the game of poker - people's perception of it - forever. What was once considered an old man's game was dominated by a young lady from Norway. Who knows what's next for the young poker celebrity but something tells me the entire world will be watching.