The second match of Poker After Dark’s sixth season marked the debut of Norway’s Annette Obrestad to the show in a battle entitled Nicknames Week. Dubbed “The Huntress,” Obrestad went up against other pros known by nicknames in Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, Erick “E-Dog” Lindgren, Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, and Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth.
The first elimination of the match took place with the blinds at only 100/200. Esfandiari open raised to 600 with pocket queens. Lindgren called with Ks Qs, as did Obrestad with Js 9s and Matusow with 7d 5c. The flop of Jd 5s 4s insured there would be action, and Obrestad and Matusow checked to the initial raiser Esfandiari, who bet 2100. Lindgren repopped it to 5400, causing Obrestad to lay down her top pair and flush draw and Matusow to also fold. Esfandiari reraised 10,000 more, prompting Lindgren to move in, and Esfandiari called. The Jh on the turn and the 3d on the river were not among Lindgren’s outs, however, and he was eliminated in 6th place, still in search of his first PAD victory.
Day 3 saw its next victim in Obrestad. With the blinds at 300/600, Laak limped on the button with Ks Qd, prompting Hellmuth to call from the small bind with Ad 3h. Obrestad looked down at Ac 6c in the big blind, and shipped in her remaining 10,225 chips. Laak called and Hellmuth mucked. After a flop of Js Ah Kc, Obrestad was in the lead with her aces, but the 10c on the turn gave Laak a Broadway straight and left Obrestad drawing to a queen for a chop. But the 5d on the river gave Laak the pot, and Obrestad departed in 5th place in her first PAD appearance.
Still on Day 3 with the blinds now 400/800, Esfandiari open-raised to 1950 from the cutoff with pocket 3s, and action folded to Matusow in the big blind who shipped in his remaining 11,850 chips with Ac Qs. Esfandiari made the call and the race was on. The board ran out 8h 4h 4d Ks 3d, and Esfandiari increased his chip lead as Matusow was sent packing in 4th place.
Esfandiari and Laak punished Hellmuth with aggressive play on Day 4, leaving Hellmuth on a serious short-stack to begin Day 5 but still reluctant to take a stand in hopes of doubling up. He eventually found himself with only 875 chips, less than one big blind, which he was forced to put in the middle with the blinds at 600/1200 holding 5s 7c, only to lose to Laak’s king-high. Mercifully, he was eliminated in 3rd place, the first player in PAD history ever to be blinded off in a match.
This left Esfandiari heads-up with Laak for the title. Esfandiari held a 70k to 50k chip lead to begin the match, and looked to be in good shape to avenge his earlier loss to Laak when they were heads-up in Match 5. But Laak took over the chip lead early in the battle and never relinquished it.
With the blinds at 800/1600, the final hand saw Esfandiari limp from the button with 10h 2s and Laak check with Ah Js. The flop was Ac 5c 4s, giving Laak top pair and Esfandiari a wheel draw. Both players checked the flop, and the turn was the 7h. Laak checked, and Esfandiari bet 2525, which Laak called. The river brought the Qh, no help to Esfandiari, and Laak again checked, prompting Esfandiari to declare that he was all in on a stone cold bluff. Laak made the easy call, and just like that he had improved his record on PAD to 2-5 while keeping Esfandiari winless in six attempts. All in all, it was a highly entertaining week, and one that will be talked about for some time to come.
Dennis Oehring serves as the Public Relations Coordinator for the firm POKER PROductions.