Poker News Round-Up 21st of September

Annette Obrestad
Annette Obrestad

The main event (but was it a Main Event?) in the poker world since last Friday has of course been the winning of the WSOP Europe £10,000 buy-in tournament in London by Annette Obrestad, an 18 year old Norwegian women who had already managed to amass a huge amount of tournament experience as one of the most prolific online players recently. Surprisingly in the current climate of often hysterical media coverage on the subject of online gambling nothing seems to have been made of the fact that much of this play was before her 18th birthday, her online moniker Annette_15 referring to the age at which she started her poker career. It could have passed beneath the radar, or perhaps they felt the story of signing up to a poker site and, Annette claims, without ever risking any of her own money, ending up a millionaire before her 19th birthday wasn’t going to help with their editorial stance on the subject.

Annette has certainly become the youngest ever bracelet winner, a record which will be impossible to break in 21 and over only Las Vegas any time in the forseeable future, whether or not she can be described as the first ever female ‘Main Event’ winner is up for debate. Any claim that the field was too small for it to be considered a proper Main Event win doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny as before 1999 there were never more entrants than the 361 Annette had to beat to claim her title. It seems to be that there can only be one true Main Event in any year though, and I doubt that will ever be held outside Las Vegas. Still, an incredible feat and one which, courtesy of the weak dollar, gave her the largest ever single cash win by a female, pipping Annie Duke‘s $2,000,000 win in the invitational only Tournament of Champions. Not adjusting for inflation of course.

In the online poker world, claims have been made that at Absolute Poker some high stakes games have been comprimised by a player who is able to see the hole cards of all the other players at his or her table. Although programs claiming this ability are regularly offered around on the web to poker players wanting to cheat, they do not of course work and at best will do nothing, at worst install a trojan virus on your PC to obtain your passwords. The case here involved two accounts (POTRIPPER and DOUBLEDRAG) believed to belong to the same person, with very suspicious playing patterns. Certainly nothing has been proven but many of the regulars in the Absolute high stakes games believe the player or players has a ‘superuser’ account, the sort of thing which might be built into a program to enable it to be bug tested more easily when developing the software. It should be stressed that all this is still very much rumour and speculation and no hard evidence has yet been produced. If it proved to be true though, it could well be the biggest scandal in online poker since back in 1999 it was shown a (by today’s standards extremely simplistic) shuffling algorithm used by Planet Poker could be cracked.

Moving onto live high stakes poker, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is attempting to deport Shaun Sheikhan, an Iranian born permanent US resident of nearly 25 years who has lived in the US since the age of 9. Sheikhan was, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, convicted back in 1995 of "sexual battery and annoyance or molestation of a child" for which he served 9 months in jail. Twelve years later, with Sheikhan running several businesses and married to a US citizen with whom he has 9 year-old daughter, deportation proceedings have been started. It will likely go to a judge to decide whether or not the law allows him to be deported.

Back on the tournament trail and American Roy Winston has just won the 2007 Borgata Poker Open World Poker Tour Event, cashing more than $1.5M whilst, starting Tuesday, the 2nd leg of the European Poker Tour Season 4 kicks off at the Grosvenor Victoria casino here in London.

Next week Adam Noone will be back from his holidays and returned to his rightful place here.