The World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Bracelet looked like it might be going to one of the big name players. Brunson, Hellmuth, Negreanu, Greenstein, Harman…..the list goes on, they were all there. Instead it went round the wrist of one of the most dominant names in the new wave of online poker players, Annette Obrestad.
The poker purists were denied something of a dream final table when Gus Hansen was eliminated in 10th place. Although he was eliminated by Matthew McCullough, Hansen's downfall was undoubtedly Londoner John Tabatabai who relentlessly took on Gus in pot after pot, bluffing him out of many and essentially not allowing the Great Dane to capitalise on his chip lead.
So the final table looked like this:
Seat 1: Johannes Korsar - 1,134,000
Seat 2: Oyvind Riisem - 664,000
Seat 3: John Tabatabai - 982,000
Seat 4: Annette Obrestad - 697,000
Seat 5: Dominic Kay - 490,000
Seat 6: Matthew McCullough - 1,278,000
Seat 7: Theo Jorgensen - 605,000
Seat 8: Magnus Persson - 1,231,000
Seat 9: James Keys - 172,000
UK online qualifier James Keys was the first to bust, on account of his very short stack. Surprisingly the most experienced player at the table, in both years and time at the tables, Theo Jorgensen, was the next player to go, after getting crippled when his pocket tens ran into Tabatabai's pocket Kings. This created a monster stack for Tabatabai, one which he would take all the way to the finale.
Another Londoner, Dominic Kay, nursed a short stack all the way to 6th position. 5 Scandinavians in total made it to the final table, and Oyvind Riisem and Johannes Korsar made it to 4th and 5th spot respectively. Not much was known about Matthew McCullough from America, but it was solid poker that got him all the way to 3rd.
This left a very nicely poised heads up battle. John Tabatabai was the hometown boy and impressed everyone all week with his loose aggressive style and charming but effective table talk. Finally there was Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad from Norway. Annette is currently the most prolific online MTT players in the world, with over $800,000 in online tournament cashes, and WCOOP and FTSOP titles to boot.
Tabatabai started the heads up match as the chip leader, in what many expected to be a relatively quick and crazy encounter it actually lasted three hours. Neither player was able to establish an advantage in that time, it was very tentative and neither player was giving up too much to the other.
Then, just after midnight, both players found a flop they liked. On a heart board, all the money went in the middle. Tabatabai had for two pair, Obrestad had him dominated holding for top set – John needed a miracle to survive which he didn't get. Annette Obrestad, the most prolific online tournament player right now had made her mark on the live stage, in arguably the toughest tournament ever held in Europe. Annette was speechless at her victory, Tabatabai was understandably gutted. Both players acquitted themselves fantastically throughout the tournament and they both deserved the bracelet.
Annette has broken countless records with this victory. Most notably being the youngest player ever to capture a bracelet at 19 years old exactly. Ironically she cant go and play at the next WSOP in Vegas for another two years, but this tournament has proven that European players need not go to America to capture glory and riches of this level.
Here are the final table placings and payouts:
1. Annette Obrestad - £1,000,000
2. John Tabatabai - £570,150
3. Matthew McCullough - £381,910
4. Oyvind Riisem - £257,020
5. Johannes Korsar - £191,860
6. Dominic Kay - £152,040
7. Magnus Persson - £114,030
8. Theo Jorgensen - £85,070
9. James Keys - £61,540