Some poker related questions and answers!
Well, I've slipped into my old ways and have been posting in forums again instead of blogging!! I recently really enjoyed doing a question and answer session for a forum partly run by fellow pro Barry Greenstein.
I've picked out some random question and answers here which I thought might interest some of you guys. Anyone who has heard me interviewed before may not find anything here truly groundbreaking but new readers may find some of it interesting.
1) Do you feel being a woman and a young one at that, that the play at your table still seems pretty aggressive towards you? I hear many women say that they feel uncomfortable at times at the poker table because they feel all the men are trying to take them out.
I definitely relate here. I remember when I played my first big live tournament, which was the Aruba Poker Classic in 2007, I didn't know what to expect when I sat down. I soon realized that most players tag you as the weak link when you sit down and they'll raise your blinds a lot expecting you to not be a good player, and just in general trying to take advantage of it. Obviously the only way to make them stop is to step up and show them what you're made off by re-raising and playing back aggressively until they stop.
I'm at the point now where I feel like I'm respected, and people see me as a pro, not a female poker player anymore, which is great, and I'm happy I've managed to convince people that girls have it in them as well and that they shouldn't underestimate us (although I wish I had the image I did early on when I could just bluff bluff bluff and always get away with it... good ole days :P)
2) Your story has been told in many forms, about you starting from freerolls and working your way up the levels to winning a complete tournament without looking at your hole cards (well you admitted you did once). How long did it take you to move up the levels and what approach did you use as you did so (bankroll management etc)?
I've always been very nitty when it comes to money. I've stuck to the 100 buy in rule all the time when it comes to MTTs except when I won the $ in my first freeroll. I think bankroll management is the most important thing you can do that doesn't relate to the game itself to help you move up.
3) I was wondering what type of live tournament you prefer more, turbo tournaments or deep stacked? Also, as a girl, a lot of times in live tournaments I end up getting called 100% of the time...lol. While this is usually great it can lead to a lot of variance also, do you have any recommendations for playing against guys who will call with anything. Do you play tighter or just ship it when you're ahead and hope it holds up?
I like all kind of tournaments because I know how to adjust for the most part, but I definitely prefer deep stacked ones simply because they offer more room to play, and there's more interesting dynamics than there is in turbos where all you have to know is good shortstack strategies. If you are playing against people who call a lot, you need to tighten up your ranges a lot, don't bluff them, and value bet them to death when you have big hands. If they suck out, they do... and there's nothing you can do about it.
4) Right now, you are best known (and self-described) as being a tournament specialist. Do you have any interest in the bigger cash games? Or does tournament poker provide a greater appeal to you?
I've started playing quite a bit of PLO cash, and I'm able to already do good in some pretty tough games. I don't see myself starting to play holdem cash though. I just find it really boring, and with all the available information these days, the level of play is so high that I can't see myself making too much money even if I put in a lot of hours.
5) What times in tournaments are you most likely to fold when it's only slightly plus chip EV to move in, call etc?
I know for sure that I don't call as light as I should sb vs bb when sb shoves. People have started open shoving 20x in spots like that with such a wide range that u probably should be calling with hands as weak as KJ and A4. I just can't get myself to do it because most of the time it's a flip, and it's really going to cripple your stack if you are wrong. 20x deep in an online tournament is a lot of chips, and most people don't realize.
I try not to take more gambles than possible and I'll much rather get my chips in first than having to call off when I'm just guessing. I also fold in spots where people think you are shoving any-two-cards a lot, for example if you have 8x in the CO and it's folded to you, and there's two huge stacks in the blinds. Then I'll fold really bad hands because they will be calling looser than they should if I tighten up my range, and then they are the ones making a mistake
6) In conjunction with your Betfair sponsorship, how much of a role have you taken in building poker interests in the European markets where the game has not yet taken off? In other words, do you feel have you created an "Obrestad Effect" similar to the boom Chris Moneymaker helped spur some five years ago?
I wouldn't say there's been a visible change since after I won, but I have heard from Betfair Poker that there's a lot more people playing there now than it was before I became part of the team. Whether or not that's because of me is hard to say, but I just hope that I can be an inspiration to people, and that everyone sees that nothing is impossible if you put your mind on it and work hard.
7. You are both highly intelligent and a native of Norway. That in mind, give us your best comeback line to Phil Hellmuth's now-famous "idiot from Northern Europe" quote during the Main Event coverage.
'Hey Phil, those 5x aren't gonna last very long, so u might wanna start playing now before it's too late!'
8) How was the experience of playing on TV in the 'Premier League'?
The Premier League is the coolest tournament I've ever played. All the trash talk that was going on behind the scenes, and being around good poker players 24/7 for a week discussing hands and having fun was a great experience. Also having the opportunity to play against some of the best live players out there really made me feel good about my game afterwards. I didn't feel like an underdog at all, and I think I played my best the whole week and can't wait for it to air.
9) Is Phil Hellmuth as douchey away from the camera is he is when the little red light goes on? How many times were you berated?
Phil is exactly how you think he is. You either love him or hate him. I think he's awesome. I love having him around. He's so entertaining and funny, and he has a completely different style than everyone else which makes it interesting to talk hands with him (although I don't always agree with what he says, and he does a lot of stuff that I'd never even think of doing.) Whatever works I guess!
10) Have you had to adjust your online play since winning the WSOPE?
I've had to adjust a lot. I don't get much respect anymore so I've been playing really tight the last year or so online. It's at the point now where I think the regulars are aware of this, and they aren't calling me down as much as they used to, and not 4-betting me as much. So I might be able to take advantage of that again soon. Unknowns, on the other hand, just always put me on the only hand they can beat and call down or ship their chips in the pot when I have the nuts. Good life.
11) What was your biggest down swing in MTT's? How did you deal with it? How many MTT's do you play at a time? Do you feel you give up much of an edge if you play to many?
Online my worst tournament downswing was around $20-30k. I had several non cash streaks of 50+ tournaments and it really sucked at the time - that was before I won WSOPE. However, you can't let it get to you.
Tournament variance sucks ass and we can't do anything to control it except play our best and hope to hold in important spots. That's why volume is important. If you can squeeze that bad streak of 300 tourneys into one week you won't be depressed for as long as someone who plays two tourneys a day and always complains about running bad.
At the most I'll play up to 14 tables if I feel like playing a lot, but I try to keep it between four and eight. That's where I'm most comfortable, and not so bored that I start raising ever hand. It definitely hurts to play too many tables because you end up on autopilot, and you miss out on a lot of good re-steal spots and picking off bluffs because you haven't been paying attention to how people play.
Best of luck to everyone for 2009 and thanks for reading.