Annette Obrestad is a WSOPE winner and we wanted to learn how: “I’ve played maybe three or four thousand tournaments online. It’s so different from the live players”

We meet Annette Obrestad the 19-year-old WSOPE winner who’s set to transform the game of poker as we know it

A few days ago we were sitting together and you were very confident about the Main Event, but now you’ve gone and won it…

Yeah, I know. I got a bit short the day before the final table, but I got the luck when I needed it. I won all my coin-flips and important hands. That’s what you’ve got to do to win a tournament.

One of the crucial hands on the final table was when you moved all-in with Q-J and got called by Tabatabai’s Jacks. You spiked the Queen, but it looked like you’d made a major mistake.

I raised on the button when it was three-handed and I had the shortest stack. I had about one million at the time and I made it 60,000 – three times the big blind. Tabatabai re-raised me but he was really aggressive and was making that sort of move with any two cards, so I thought I could get him off the hand.

I moved all-in for 850,000 and I knew he couldn’t call me without a hand. His raising range was huge – nine times out of 10 he has to fold to my all-in. Most of the time it’s going to work but I got really lucky to suck out on him.

You say he was aggressive, yet all the way through you were just raising and re-raising. You were relentless…

Well I wasn’t getting any cards; I was card dead for two days and that’s the only move you can do when you’re running cold.

What were the other crucial hands that helped you along the way?

There was a hand heads-up when I raised with J-7 suited and the flop came down A-3-5 rainbow. He checked, I bet, he raised and I re- raised him again. He folded after thinking for five minutes.

That’s an incredibly brave move to make.

Yeah, it’s hard, but I was thinking that the flop wouldn’t have helped him too much. I was representing a big Ace at least. I just didn’t think that he’d call a pre-flop raise with hands that would hit a straight there. And if he had got a pocket pair I thought he would have re-raised me pre-flop.

When you got to heads-up you were the shorter stack. What was your strategy at that point?

The blinds were still so slow that I could afford to be patient and build up a really good table image.

You were very impassive – you didn’t show much emotion at the table.

I didn’t want to give anything away because I know people are good at reading, and I suck at it.

Have you found that bit of the game hard – making the transition from online play where no one can see you, to live tournaments where you get the stare-down?

It was hard at first but the more you play the more you get used to it. I think I’ve adjusted now. You have to get into a routine where you’re doing the same thing over and over again – if you do that people shouldn’t be able to read you.

And on the flip side, do you think you’ve got an advantage from playing so much online, that you actually know how to win a tournament?

Oh for sure. I’ve played maybe three or four thousand tournaments online. It’s so different from the live players – we play so many more hands. We see the same situations come up repeatedly.

Back to you and John at the end – the heads-up was a great match-up. It seemed to us that it was going to have to come down to one of those hands where you both hit big.

That’s what I thought too. I thought it was going to end with a coin-flip pre-flop, or Tens against Jacks, something like that. In the end, he limped on the button with 5-6 offsuit, and I made it 100,000 to go. He called me after thinking for a while and the flop was 5-6-7. I bet out because there were so many draws out there. I bet a little more than the pot actually and he raised me. God knows how much he bet, I just saw him put a huge stack of chips in the middle and I moved all-in.

Why did you bet so big?

Well there were so many draws out there and I didn’t want him to just call me. I wanted him to be forced to raise me in a bid to find out where he was in the hand and then my plan was to get it all-in on the flop.

He dwelled for ages – what were you thinking when he finally called? Did you think you might be beat?

No, I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to win the World Series of Poker Europe and the bracelet, and then he turned over 5-6 and he was virtually drawing dead. I was like, ‘This is so sick!’

Wait until it sinks in. You’ve done a lot for poker today, but you’ve also done a lot for women in poker.

I know, it’s crazy. I’m the youngest ever WSOP bracelet holder. That record is probably never going to be beaten. It’s so sick I can’t believe it.

This sort of interview regularly appears in PokerPlayer magazine. Why not try a digital copy HERE

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