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24/09/2007 No. 43
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Sep 24, 2007

I have had a bit of stick online for banging on too much about "women and poker", but really, come on the girls! It's hard not to be pleased that the World Series of Poker (Europe) has been won by 18-year-old Annette Obrestad of Norway.

This follows a year in which Katja Thater of Germany won a bracelet in the traditional Las Vegas World Series, and, sorry, I won the European Championship. There are so few women on the live circuit, and these are such disproportionately big results, how can we fail to think "Ha!" in the face of all those men who still insist that females don't have the instincts or the muscle to win tournaments?

I feel protective of young Obrestad, given how little time it took for posts to go up on the internet describing her as "no looker", "a surly midget", and (really nastily) "a troll". She is pretty - she's 18, for God's sake! They're all gorgeous! - but she makes no effort to glam up at the table. She dresses comfortably, masks her face behind giant sunglasses, and rarely speaks. She's quite scary, in her stern look as well as her fearless and aggressive betting style. It's not unlike having Wednesday Addams at the table.

But I admire her uncompromising demeanour, having never managed silence or pitilessness at the table myself. I smile, I chat, I self-deprecate to my own annoyance. Annette is braver and more serious, bringing nothing to the table but a strong game. She could afford to lighten up a little, which I'm sure will come with time and social confidence. For now, she is a refreshing antidote to those fame-hungry American girls who play poker in bikinis (or less). Annette doesn't need to be a sex symbol for men, when she's going to be such an inspiration for young women.

Your can read more byAnthony Holden at his website
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