Annette Obrestad seems like a nice, quiet, unassuming woman - until you meet her at the poker table.
One of the most successful online poker players in history and the youngest ever winner of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event at 19, Obrestad has left a lasting legacy in poker far beyond her age or gender.
While her appearances at the poker table are more few and far between these days, she'll always be a devastating threat at the table - and one of the most memorable.
Annette_15 Stuns Online Poker World
Annette Obrestad grew up in the small town of Sandnes, Norway, and is perhaps best known for her legendary online poker career which she began, as you might have surmised, when she was just 15 years old.
Signing up as "Annette_15" online when a friend shipped her some money on an online poker site, Obrestad went on to play millions of hands online and develop her own unique, aggressive strategy few, if any, players could match at the time.
The idea of a 15-year-old playing poker online created controversy and is exactly why many governments have attempted to ban online poker. It's worth noting that Obrestad never actually deposited any of her own money.
After winning a few freerolls and slowly moving up the online poker ranks Annette Obrestad got good. Really good. She was so good, in fact, that she didn't even need to see hole cards.
During one legendary online tournament Obrestad put tape over her computer monitor so she couldn't see her own hand. By using superior bluffing techniques and reading her opponents perfectly she outlasted 180 opponents and went on to win the tournament.
By 2006 Obrestad had elevated her online game so high that she was dominating the online poker rooms. She won countless $100 buy-in tournaments on both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, garnering around $10,000 to $20,000 for every victory.
Annette_15 had built her bankroll to such a size that she could afford to compete at the highest levels.
Annette Obrestad Stuns the WSOPE
Having conquered the online world it seemed only natural that Annette Obrestad would then turn her attention to live play given that some of the most lucrative poker tournaments are of course the live ones. Despite some minor cashes in some EPT events and a good showing at the Aruba Classic, Obrestad didn't really capture the attention of the mainstream poker media at first.
Because of her age Obrestad couldn't go to Las Vegas and compete in the World Series of Poker but when it was announced the WSOP was coming to Europe she was one of the first players in line.
Although Annette Obrestad made an appearance in the Pot-Limit Omaha event it was during the Main Event that she began to find her game. Obrestad ironically eliminated two of the top female players in Annie Duke and Jennifer Harman on Day 3 of the tournament. She was just getting started, however, and by the end of the day Annette_15 was one of the top five chip leaders. The next day she had some ups and downs but she made it to the final table in the middle of the pack.
Through calculated play and a couple risky moves Obrestad made it to heads-up play against Londoner John Tabatabai. After several hours of play that went back and forth, Obrestad took a commanding lead.
The final hand of the day, one that Obrestad will likely remember forever, saw her dealt pocket sevens against Tabatabai's 6 5 . The flop went 7 6 5 and Obrestad thought for a minute and then pushed all-in. Tabatabai made the call but was shocked to find his two pair bested by Obrestad's set of sevens.
The board finished 2 Q and Annette_15's place in poker history was secured. At only 18 years old (her birthday was the day after the Main Event) Obrestad had won one of the most prestigious poker tournaments ever held in Europe.
Annette Obrestad won £1 million ($2.01 million) for her victory, which was the best ever for a female player in a single event. Ironically organizers had marketed the event with the tagline, "Who will be the King of Europe?"
Needless to say, they had to change their tune when it was in fact a Queen, not a King, who won the prestigious poker tournament.
"One of Most Impressive Performances Ever"
A number of poker professionals who were at the WSOPE, including Kirk Morrison and Daniel Negreanu, touted her performance as one of the most impressive they had ever seen.
Shortly after the WSOPE Obrestad was signed by Betfair Poker and she continued to frequent online tournaments. She also began to make the rounds in European live tournaments and other bigger-buy-in events that allowed players under 21 to compete.
She quickly proved her WSOPE win was no fluke when she finished as the runner-up at EPT Dublin in October for another $429k. She appeared on the partypoker Premier League and Late Night Pokerand held her own admirably.
By the time 2010 rolled around she was old enough to play in Las Vegas and headed to the original World Series of Poker for the first time where she cashed 4 times. She returned in 2012 and 2013 and even managed to finish 89th in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.
After a few-year hiatus she returned to the WSOP in 2017 and 2018 and had a couple of small cashes but only played a few small buy-in events.
Now living in Las Vegas with her partner Obrestad doesn't spend too much time playing poker anymore but will dabble in games and tournament around Vegas as she wants to.
Regardless of if she ever hits the felt again, few who were around the game during her prime will likely ever forget her impact.
Bold, creative and fearless she paved a path for online players, both male and female to follow. Fellow Norwegian and WSOP final-table bubbler Elisabeth Hille, in fact, named Obrestad as one of her biggest influences in starting to play poker.
Annette's Makeup Corner
Once you've won the WSOPE Main Event at 18 and done everything you wanted to do in poker, what comes next?
Well, in Obrestad's case, you become a popular YouTube personality doing make-up tutorials, obv. Since putting her poker career on the backburner Obrestad has turned her attention to the suprisingly massive YouTube make-up tutorials industry and, as you might expect, is crushing that too.
Her channel has thousands of followers and her most popular video has over 200k views and counting. Check it out below and visit her YouTube channel here: