A few days shy of my 19th birthday, I was downing shots of cheap tequila and playing nickel and dime ante stud poker in my fraternity house when I wasn't cutting classes to follow The Grateful Dead for weeks at a time. Fifteen years ago I could never imagine check-raising the world's elite poker pros and then beating them all to become the World Series of Poker's youngest bracelet winner.
Over the past year or so, Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad from Norway has been making a name for herself. She started playing at the age of 15, hence her online screen name, and never funded a poker account. After winning $9 in a freeroll, she amassed a monster bankroll and has not looked back since. At the end of the summer, she won a $500,000 guaranteed tournament on Full Tilt, where she put on a clinic at the final table.
Some people consider Annette_15 to be the best female no-limit hold'em player in the world. Some consider her the best no-limit tournament player under 21-years old in the world. And others consider her one of the best online no-limit tournament player ... period. It's hard to argue with her outstanding record.
After her stellar performance at the £10,000 buy-in main event championship at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), she's finally going to get the recognition that she deserves. She outlasted 362 players to win £1,000,000-the equivalent of $2 million US-and at age 18, became the youngest WSOP bracelet winner of all time. The legend of Annette_15 continues to grow as she made a seamless transition from online poker to live poker. "The internet players are prone to make mistakes," explained Gus Hansen who bubbled off the final table in tenth place. "Somewhere along the way, they shoot themselves in the foot by playing too many hands and moving all in too much."
She managed to avoid those costly mistakes and made several gutsy calls and moves during the main event that propelled her to the final table. She busted both Jen Harman and Annie Duke en route to her victory. Aside from Theo Jorgensen, the players who made the final table did not have much final table experience. Annette_15 held an edge. Although she was in the middle of the pack in the chip count and was the youngest player at the table at 18 years of age, her poker acumen was leaps and bounds above everyone aside from Jorgensen. And it showed.
"The last two days (of the main event) I was so card dead," she mentioned. "I was hitting flops with my mediocre hands and making a lot of good plays getting chips that a lot of other people wouldn't have done. I was pretty confident. I have played so many hands online that I have more experience than they have in certain situations. I just don't read players as well as they can."
Annette_15 emerged victorious and said she had no idea what to do with her new windfall, but suggested that she'd like to buy her mother a new house in Norway. She still two years away from being able to legally play in a Las Vegas casino. She's not eligible to play in the WSOP until 2010 and can only play in tournaments that have an age restriction of 18 instead of 21.
"It sucks that I can't play the WSOP events, but I have to play whatever I can." Congrats to Annette_15 for etching her name in the history books as the inaugural WSOPE main event champion and for also becoming the youngest ever WSOP bracelet winner.