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Elisabeth Hille: “I Never Touched My WSOP Winnings”

It felt like the entire poker world was rooting for Norwegian female poker player Elisabeth Hille in the 2012 WSOP Main Event.

She was down-to-earth, charming and a rather good player by all accounts. It’s safe to say the WSOP wouldn’t have minded having an attractive, marketable female at the final table but alas it wasn’t to be and Hille fell in 11th place.

Since then Hille actually went back to her job as a waitress in Norway and hasn’t touched a penny of the $590,000 she won in the Main Event (she’s saving for an apartment).

Obrestad is THE Inspiration

PokerListings caught up with Hille on the Sam Remo Stop of the European Poker Tour to see what she’s been up to since coming 11th in the 2012 WSOP Main Event.

By Christian Henkel

PL: Elisabeth, two years ago you appeared as a sensation on the last two tables of the WSOP main Event and got busted on the 11th place. You’re now playing EPT Main Events. Is poker still naive fun or hard work?

Elisabeth Hille
Elisabeth Hille in the 2012 WSOP Main Event.

EH: I always thought that it was hard to play these major tournaments. Even so I played the main event as a pure amateur.

Competition is very tough, but I love playing big fields and that makes it fun. If you make it far, the further and further you get the more exciting it is. I could play these tournaments for the rest of my life.

PL: Can you afford to play a €5000 Tournament?

EH: I am not really good with bankroll management. Otherwise I never could play a EPT Main Event. I play when I can afford it. But I have to earn the money in poker, because I never touched the $590k from the WSOP Main Event.

It is stashed away in my mattress and is saved for an apartment. By the way I actually wanted to come to Vienna, but I couldn’t. And so it is San Remo now. Both are venues where I said: for a real poker life you have to play both events.

PL: Do you play online?

EH: I never played much online or won much online for that matter.

PL: In Norway, it is not possible to play live, so if you don’t play online that much, where do you play then?

Annette Obrestad
Norwegian outlier Annette Obrestad.

EH: Of course there are some illegal poker clubs. But I don’t want to say something about that. I’m coming from the Norwegian Championship that was held in Dublin this year. There was a total of 1260 players in the €800 Main Event.

It’s a completely different experience of a poker tournament. If you compare that with an EPT Main Event it is a huge party. Here people with headphones are concentrating from the first moment.

In Dublin there was this guy at my table who would order shots for everybody siting on the table every 20 minutes. It is good poker and a lot of fun in the same time.

PL: Are you still together with your boyfriend Harald, who bought you into the WSOP Main event?

EH: He won two satellites and gave me one. But yes we live in Bergen. But he unfortunately doesn’t like to play in major live tournaments, like I do.

PL: Will you play the WSOP Main Event?

EH: Of course. It is my favorite tourney of the year. The numbers of players, the structure. As long as I play poker, I will play the big one.

PL: You are Norwegian. Your famous predecessor was Anette Obrestad. An inspiration?

EH: I wasn’t playing poker when I read her story in the newspapers. I started right after her success in London. So she is THE inspiration (laughs).

PL: There are still few women in the fields of major tournaments. What's the skill level like for female poker players?

EH: I hope that other players think I am good. I still make a lot of mistakes of course, but I gave Greg Merson, for example, a really hard time in the 2012 WSOP Main Event. But I think I am still far away from female players like Vanessa Selbst, who is my personal poker idol.

PL: And a male player to be feared?

EH: Yngve Steen. I met him in the heads-up final in Dublin and he absolutely owned me. I don’t want to meet him again at a poker table.

PL: Only NLHE?

EH: And Open Face Chinese. I love to play it.

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