Online Report

Online Poker Update

Online poker has a new Number One Player, and she’s generating a whole lot of hype. For the first time since PocketFives.com was created, a female player has risen to the top of the rankings, and not only that – she’s only 18 years old! Annette Obrestad is a Norwegian poker phenom who plays with relentless aggression and strikes fear into opponents everywhere. In the words of one top player who sat at her table for several hours in the 2006 Aruba Classic, “She’s an animal!”

A female Number One sends a message to all the guys out there who think the women at their tables are easy pickin’s. Annette will take all your chips and send you packing. She’s the real deal, and she has no interest in simply being “the best girl player.”

Former Number One player and all-time online great Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy is back in the top ten for the first time since PocketFives.com implemented its automated results-based rankings system. He also won the “Presto” award for best live performance by a PocketFives member, which means he’s winning in every possible arena. Online and live, he had well over a million dollars in cashes in 2006.

As well as Cliff’s “Presto” award, there were a number of other awards we’d like to mention. For the second year in a row, these were given to online players who stood out among their peers. They also offer us a nice recap of the year 2006 in online poker.

The nominees for the Best Online Accomplishment award were all standout candidates. One player won three different $100 rebuys on PokerStars in the same weekend. Another won two different WCOOP (World Championships of Online Poker) $500 events – one in Stud 8/b and one in Omaha 8/b – for a combined $170k. Another player made seven consecutive final tables in the UltimateBet $100 tournament, including two wins. The winner, though, was Eric “Rizen” Lynch, who had an incredible run throughout the year in the Sunday majors, including wins in the Paradise $150k Guaranteed, the PokerRoom $300, the Empire $250k Guaranteed, and the PokerStars $1 Million Guaranteed.

Number Two ranked player BeL0WaB0Ve won the Presto award for Best Online Tournament Player in 2006.

We’re looking forward to another great month in the online tournament scene. Good luck, everyone.

Adam Small

Chief Editor

PocketFives.com

PLAYERS TO WATCH

1) Annette_15 – An 18-year-old Norwegian poker phenom, Annette has become one of the most talked about players online, having quickly risen to the top of the rankings. Relentless aggression at the tables has led her to numerous five-figure wins, and her peers now rate her as one of the three toughest players to have at their table.

2) BeL0WaB0Ve – Kevin Saul, who has been crushing online tournaments for years. A high volume tournament master, he had two large cashes at the World Poker Finals in Foxwoods last year, which combined for $156k.

3) Imper1um – Known on PokerStars as zangbezan24, this Canadian resident is one of the fastest rising stars in the online poker world. His peers now rate him as the top online player in the PocketFives.com Pro Poll, and his results speak for themselves.

4) Tmay420 – Tim West, a high volume player who has crushed all over the online scene, particularly on Party Poker and Paradise Poker. Just 21 years of age, he’s already put up some strong live results, including some of the preliminary Bellagio Five-Diamond Events.

5) t soprano – Switches between cash games, sit-n-gos, and tournaments on PokerStars, and he also crushes the multi-table tournament scene across the board. He chopped the UltimateBet Online Championships Main Event in 2006, receiving $168k.

6) phatcat – Known as “slimshaggy” on PokerStars, he is one of the few part-time players near the top of rankings. In February of this year, he took down the $1k Monday night tournament on Full Tilt for over $47k.

7) Roothlus – A regular deep finisher in some of the toughest tourneys on the net, he continues to use a tight-aggressive style to outlast his opponents. He had two final tables in the PokerStars Sunday Main Event in 2006. You can usually find him playing the late night tournaments on PokerStars and Full Tilt.

8) JohnnyBax – The number 1 player on PocketFives.com for 17 consecutive months between 2005 and 2006, he has achieved status as one of the all-time greats of online poker. His success doesn’t stop at the online felt, though – he had almost exactly $1,000,000 in live cashes in 2006!

9) P0KERPR033 – Known by many as jcamby33, which is the name he uses on PokerStars, he’s had numerous big wins online, including a January win in the $1k buy-in event on Full Tilt and a first place finish in the $200 rebuy on Stars.

10) Atimos – Plays on ’Stars as Jovial Gent, under which name he won the $1M Guaranteed for more than $250k in November of 2006. Amazingly, he’d won $54k in a tournament on Full Tilt only a week earlier, and he continues to put up some of the best results of anyone, including a recent second place finish in the Bodog $200k Guaranteed.

Eric Baldwin aka “Basebaldy”

My poker playing days started in my hometown of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Inspired by Rounders, my high school friends and I would have almost nightly poker games to avoid homework, cold weather, and nagging girlfriends. Through a combination of some skill on my end and a complete lack of skill from my donkey friends (Eat it, guys), I managed to end up with extra money in my pocket consistently.

I chose to attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and began suffering from poker withdrawal. I discovered online poker, deposited $50, and lost $50 fairly quickly. An internet search for “poker tips” resulted in a page with starting hand requirements and general advice. A few post-it notes later, the edge of my computer monitor looked like an office bulletin board. I redeposited and successfully began grinding my online bankroll in low- to mid-stakes cash games.

As online poker grew, I was drawn to the first place prize money tournaments offered. I ordered and studied Harrington on Hold’em and began playing tournaments. Between classes and baseball practice, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of time for poker, but I made enough to build a decent bankroll and buy cups on the weekends.

My fourth year of college was my last year of baseball, and I was fortunate enough to be a captain on the NCAA Division III National Champion Warhawks. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience, but it also meant it was time to face the question: Now what? During my fifth and final year of school I put a majority of my time and effort towards poker since the thought of getting a “real” job wasn’t appealing. In January 2006, I won a satellite into Party Poker’s Canadian Poker Championships and took third in the 103- player tournament for a payday of $57k. I was ecstatic because I now had the bankroll to give playing poker full time a real shot.

I graduated from UWW in May 2006 with a degree in psychology. Choosing a major that focused on how and why people act the way they do has been tremendously helpful to my poker career.

My poker goals are to build a large enough bankroll to travel the live tournament circuit and to win a bracelet. Finishing sixth in event #44 of last year’s WSOP is my greatest accomplishment thus far.

When I’m not playing poker, I enjoy laughing with friends, following the Cubs and the Bears, and participating in bowling and foosball leagues.

I would like to thank my parents for being supportive of my career choice. It would be a much more difficult and less satisfying experience without their support.

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April 2007