Former online prodigy Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad has signed on to become an ambassador for Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Poker room.
Would Daniel Negreanu become an ambassador for a slaughterhouse?
And yet Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad has become an ambassador for the Venetian Poker Room.
For many, me included, Obrestad was the epitome of online poker chic. Playing under the pseudonym “Annette_15” she amassed $2.7m in cashes playing online poker tournaments.
In 2007, she won a $4 180-man Sit & Go, without looking at her cards, for no other reason other than she could. She also reached the rank of world number one on PocketFives. At the same time she became the youngest player to win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet by winning the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event for £1m – the highest payout ever handed to a female poker player at that time. A month later, she very nearly became a European Poker Tour (EPT) champion when she finished second at EPT4 in Dublin.
The woman is absolute mustard.
She has taken close to $7m from this game.
It all started with her online roots.
Famously, she didn’t even deposit any money.
So why oh why has she decided to jump into bed with the enemy?
Just in case you have been playing around in a Hot Tub Time Machine let me fill you in on a few details.
Sheldon Adelson, the 22nd richest man in the world, and chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has vowed to do everything in his power to grind the early shoots of online poker growth in America into the ground.
He formed the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG). He said he would spend what it takes to make sure this ‘cancer’ (online poker) doesn’t spread throughout the United States of America. According to estimates produced by Forbes he has over $28 billion. That’s a lot of cancer fighting dollars.
He is a tough foe.
Poker needs everyone to stand up against this man. We all have a duty to do our bit as part of this community. Declaring yourself as an ambassador for a poker room owned by the enemy is tantamount to treason.
Values, Values, Values
The question that keeps coming up is why?
Obrestad isn’t the only ambassador for the Venetian Poker Room. Erica Lindgren is also on board that particular bus.
Why would experienced poker players join this bandwagon?
I have thought long and hard about this and there are only three possible reasons that I can think of.
A) Personal financial gain
B) A devilish double agent plot
C) They are giving all of their money towards a greater cause
I have written about my dismay at poker players using the Venetian Poker Room in the past. Not many people within the poker community seem to back me on this.
If they are playing to earn money to then pass on to a greater good, then I can sort of understand their reasoning, without agreeing wholeheartedly with the decision.
But an ambassador?
I don’t see the value in that other than personal financial gain.
It’s Like Dani Stern Moving to The Isle of Man
What is it with the Venetian Poker Room that seems to get us reaching for the blinkers?
Do you remember the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) agreeing to have their annual pow-wow there before a rush of complaints saw them backtracking on the idea?
Who is advising her? What did her friends say when she confided in them about the deal?
Guys, its official! I’m now an ambassador for @VenetianPoker. I’m SOOO excited. I hope to give a lot of you a chance to play with me soon!
— Annette Obrestad (@Annette_15) January 29, 2016
When thinking about this article, I kept wondering how to keep it constructive. I gave up. There is no rhyme or reason here. This is a good old-fashioned rant.
I believe that the poker community should stick together. When we are under attack – and we are under attack – then we owe each other a duty to create the strongest human phalanx that we can and fight back.
Steven Pressfield said it best in Gates of Fire:
“The phalanx forms a unity so dense and all-divining that it performs not merely at the level of a machine or engine of war but, surpassing that, to the state of a single organism, a beast of one blood and heart.”
This beast only exists if everyone stays in line; remains in their position; does their job.
Someone has just moved outside of the line.