By the time Annette Obrestad was 19 years old she’d already won a WSOPE Main Event, finished runner-up in EPT Dublin and amassed over $2.4m in live tournament earnings.
How do you follow that up? It’s a question that Obrestad has been debating for nearly a decade.
“Once I won that tournament in London I was asking myself, ‘What’s left to do?’” she said. “I’m never going to top this. It’s all kind of downhill from here.
“Unless I’m able to win the Main Event in Las Vegas or something I’m never going to get a win like that ever again. It’s just the reality of the situation.”
Still Grinding it Out
While Obrestad hasn’t been able to top winning the WSOPE Main Event in 2007, it’s not like she’s been stagnant either.
Since 2007 Obrestad has added another $1.4 million in live tournament earnings with big scores in Australia and on the European Poker Tour.
For the past few years Obrestad, now 28, has been living in Vegas and finding games where she can.
“I’ve been playing a little bit,” she said.
“Its mostly online these days. There are a few private games that have been set up on play money sites. I’m trying to get into PLO cash but it’s not really my thing.”
The online game is not exactly unfamiliar to Obrestad as she got her start terrorizing opponents as Annette_15 back when she lived in Norway.
The online game is not what it used to be, however.
“You can’t even compare online now to back then,” she said.
“It’s almost impossible these days to make a good living playing poker. It’s really hard.”
Obrestad famously won a 180-player online tournament “blind” back in 2007 (she purposely obstructed view of her hole cards) as a challenge.
Would she still be able to pull it off?
“Probably not,” she laughed. “It would have to be like a $1 Sit & Go or something.”
Growing Up in the Poker World
Talking with Obrestad you start to wonder how much longer she will play poker.
“I enjoy the game but it’s not the same,” she said.
“It feels like more of a job than it used to. I don’t have the same spark to get better. Now it’s more like, ‘Oh, I guess I will play poker.’ It’s still fun when you’re actually there though.”
Regardless of what Obrestad ends up doing as a career there’s a good chance her record as the youngest WSOP winner, at just 18 years old, will stand for quite some time.
It’s also understandable that she made some questionable financial decisions after winning £1m at WSOPE.
“I mean there are a couple of things I would have changed in terms of how to handle the money. I was young and was like, ‘Oh, money grows on trees. I’ll go buy 10 Chanel bags.’”
She doesn’t have many regrets, however.
“I wasted a lot of money on stupid shit that I shouldn’t have but at the same time I really enjoyed it and it was kind of part of the experience of winning,” she said.
“I don’t know if I would take it back. But if I won another big tournament I wouldn’t do the same thing.”
Obrestad Eyes WSOP Main Event
Obrestad said she’d tell any players her age who won a big tournament to carefully consider their actions.
“Spontaneity is not always the best course of action,” she laughed. “Just think about everything before you do it.”
For the time being Obrestad has a full schedule of tournaments planned for the WSOP and other series around Vegas.
“I’ll probably be playing somewhere every day whether it’s at the Rio or Venetian or somewhere else,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll be playing any of the $3k+ events.”
The chance to top her famous victory in London is still live, too.
“I’ll play the Main Event obviously,” she said.