Forum Files: the $51,000 Online Tournament, Bluff Goes Under, Obrestad MIA?

Alex Weldon : July 20th, 2015


The poker world is taking a well-deserved rest for the most part now that the Main Event is on hiatus until November and the rest of the WSOP is all wrapped up. That means that the forums have been relatively quiet as well. Still, there are a few stories that have piqued interest in the past week, and we’re going to bring you up to speed in today’s instalment of the Forum Files.

PokerStars WCOOP $51,000 High Roller
Thread: First ever $51,000 SHR on Stars, plays one week before WCOOP Main

Given that the forums are largely made up of online players, any news announced by PokerStars is bound to get its own thread or, in this case, two. As reported last week, PokerStars has revealed that this year’s World Championship of Online Poker is going to feature a $51,000 High Roller tournament, the highest buy-in in the history of online poker. Although I found the idea pretty uninspiring, the general consensus on the forums is that it will be interesting, but won’t get much turnout unless PokerStars figures out a way to get some weak players into it, perhaps by way of FPP satellites.

The discussion has also sparked a spin-off thread in which user TooRareToDie wants people to post their guesses at players’ long-term ROIs in such an event, but so far, everyone else seems to think that’s a stupid game and refuses to play along.

Bluff Lays Off Entire Staff, Malmuth “Not Completely Unhappy”
Thread: Bluff Media busto?

Bluff Magazine was one of the poker world’s premiere publications for many years, but has been slowly collapsing as the industry has declined. At the beginning of the year, they announced that they were taking their physical magazine out of print and transitioning to being an online-only outlet. That didn’t work out for them either, and late last week, word got out that they were laying off their entire staff and more or less closing up shop, although the website will “continue to exist in some yet-to-be-determined form.”

Most people in the industry – and in the thread – are sad to see Bluff go, and its journalists to find themselves out of work, but Two Plus Two owner Mason Malmuth couldn’t resist popping into the thread to gloat about it. On page 3, he points out that he’s had disputes with Bluff in the past, and had predicted that they wouldn’t be very successful once the boom years waned. Classy.

Annette Obrestad – Where is she now?
Thread: Whatever happened to Annette obrestad?

Young Europeans feature prominently in the poker world these days, largely because they get to make an early start, being allowed to gamble at 18, rather than 21 as in the U.S. One classic example is Annette Obrestad, who even now is only 27, but made a name for herself all the way back in 2007, when at age 19, she became the youngest player ever to win a bracelet at the World Series of Poker Europe. She remained a big name until fairly recently, with nearly $4 million in live earnings and over $2.7 million online, plus a sponsorship deal with Lock Poker. This last may be part of the reason for her recent silence, as Lock Poker proved to be a fraud, and went down for good this year, taking players’ money and many pros’ reputations with it.

Speculation abounds in the thread, but the general consensus seems to be that the bad side of variance caught up with her and she’s been left grinding lower stakes games to make a living and can no longer afford big ticket appearances. One thing’s for sure, she’s still out there somewhere, since she showed up partway through the thread to post a single heart emoticon to let everyone know she’s listening to them gossip about her.

Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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