On August 31 2005 she played her first "real" tournament on PokerStars. It was an MTT for $22 with 571 players, she ended up getting 104th.
By now she has won dozens of larger MTT's (tournaments with a buy-in of $55 or more). Her net prize money has reached more than half a million dollars. Add to that another $170k on Full Tilt Poker, and you have one of the most successful online tournament players.
In September 2007 she won the Main Event of the World Series of Poker Europe and received $2 million. What's so special about Annette_15? She was born on September 18th, 1988, which makes her the youngest bracelet winner in history: 18 years old.
Annette Obrestad started playing poker at the age of 15. She grew up in a small town in Norway and was bored most of the time, until she opened up a poker account on the internet. It seems like she's rarely left her computer since then.
The question is, however, how a 15 year old girl can play poker on the internet. Of course she gave a wrong age when opening the account. Furthermore, we are still waiting for an official statement from PokerStars with respect to age-control, as she did play for "real" money, before she turned 18.
She says that she has never paid in a cent. She once asked her mother if she could use her credit card, but when she said "no", she didn't have a choice but to make her first dollar by playing freerolls.
A while ago she mentioned in an interview how playing freerolls isn't very different from playing "real" tournaments: "You just can't bluff if you're playing against weak players. Just be patient." Most of what she knows about the game she learned herself by playing, although she did a lot from other players. Her favorite players are JohnnyBax and ActionJeff. Especially JohnnyBax is role model for her; his poker-play as well as his views on life are things she admires greatly.
For a while she used to play many sit-and-go's ($10, $25, $50) without looking at her cards. For her it was practice. Not long ago she played a $4 sit-and-go and ended up winning it, looking at her cards only 1x. Many discussions have broken loose since then: is it true? Did somebody play a tournament blind and won it? Why? How?
For Annette it was just practice. She wanted to show how important it is to have position and how important it is to study your opponents at the table.
Shortly after her "blind" tournaments she played the $500k guaranteed on Full Tilt. With just 3 players left she got 66 and hoped the flop would be good to her. Yiu could say that it was: 66. Her opponent had a monster hand and didn't believe she had hit trips, not to mention quads, and laid the basis for Annette's triumph. One hand later it was all over and the 18 year old Norwegian could add her biggest online poker prizemoney to her CV.
It wasn't the first time she won a tournament. She's won the $55-rebuy and $100-rebuy dozens of times or at least ended up in the top 3. As these tournaments usually award first place with over $10k, her bankroll grew by many thousand dollars every month. She's regularly topped the lists of "best tournament player" on the ranking sites.
In 2006, Annette_15 got 7th in the 2500 NL Event of the World Cup of Online Poker, her biggest online success to that time. However, her result in the tournament kicked off numerous discussions as she admitted in her Blog that somebody else was playing for her.
Controversy and Criticism
Even today there are still a lot of discussions about Annette. The so called "haters" keep going on about her huge luck (there were some discussable hands that lead to her triumph at the WSOPE). Her appearance is also often talked about. The chance of her becoming Miss Universe is probably not great, but the question is what on earth that has to do with anything. On the other hand, a psychological study about an isolated teenage girl that ends up being poker champion will probably lead to many further discussions about poker in general.
There are different sites that offer videos of (online) Pro's, such as Cardrunners and PokerXfactor. Annette likes spending time on forums and gives away a lot of information. This is what she had to say about the sit-and-go as a reaction to a post:
"Hmmm there just sooo much u have to think about. U mention shoving with K9s after a limper.... who happened to be utg??? Thats asking for trouble... and what kinda stack did he have? Im assuming he could afford to call with the 4s even if its a bad play by him. U have to know that ur opponent usually folds to big raises if ur gonna shove on a limp with ur stack.
Regarding c-bets, its all about flop texture and trying to sell a hand. U cant just bet without representing something. Checking a 733 flop and then bet when a 4 comes on the turn doesnt make sense, right? If u raised in pos after two limpers and the flop is TsJs2x, would u bet when they check to u? Most likely u wont... because there r so many combination of hands that r gonna call or raise if u do, so that bet might as well be taken off ur stack because it has 5% chance of winning the pot right there, and since u cant see ur cards and dont know if u have outs, betting here is suicide- If the flop comes Q53 on the other hand, its safer to bet because most of the hands they're limp/calling with r gonna miss the flop and its not very draw heavy.
When playing the sng, all i really thought about was playing the stacksizes - stealing from the small to medium stacks and not pot comitting myself too often against shorties when i knew i had to call their shoves... stay away from big stacks, dont play out of pos and be careful not to bluff against callingstation. Thats the key to winning these in general. Not only when playing blind.
Hope that helps,
You can watch the sit-and-go on PokerXfactor (you do have to be registered to watch it, but that is initially for free): http://www.pokerxfactor.com/HH72069/4%20180%20blind%20play
Here you can also watch her win of the Full Tilt $500k guaranteed: http://www.pokerxfactor.com/HA76185/500k%20win/4477
The future will show whether or not she was "One hit wonder". If she keeps on going like she did until now, it won't be long until the title "legend" is deserved. In the online poker scene she's almost one already. She is definitely a phenomenon.
What do you think?