This week’s brand new installment of the NBC franchise “Poker After Dark” is dubbed “Nicknames.” Making her debut on the show is 21 year-old Betfair pro Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, who went by the moniker “The Huntress.”
On her departure from the familiar screen name “Annette_15,” Obrestad told her tablemates, “Basically, I needed a nickname for the show,” and called her traditional handle “boring.” In the first hand, Obrestad, the winner of the 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe Main Event, raised to 600 and the table folded around. Then, Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth, a sponsored pro of UB.com, began Twittering at the table, truly a sign of the times.
Phil “The Unabomber” Laak raised to 550 pre-flop with 10-7 and Obrestad came along from the big blind holding A-2 of hearts. The flop came 5-9-9 with two hearts and the action went check-check to a three on the turn. Obrestad check-called a bet of 850 from Laak to another nine on the river. The action went check-check and Obrestad raked in the 2,900-chip pot with an ace.
Erick “E-Dog” Lindgren’s stay at the “Poker After Dark” feature table was brief. His “go big or go home” strategy resulted in four-way action to a flop of J-5-4 with two spades. Holding pocket queens, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari led out for 2,100 and Lindgren made it 5,400. The other two players got out of the way, Esfandiari pushed the price of poker to 15,400, Lindgren moved all-in, and Esfandiari made the call. Needing a spade or king to hit, the turn and river fell the jack of hearts and three of diamonds, respectively, sending Lindgren out in sixth place. Obrestad announced that she folded J-9 of spades after the flop.
Obrestad, who largely played tight throughout the first episode of “Nicknames” week, mixed it up and made it 600 to go with 8-5 pre-flop and received a call from Laak, who peeked down at K-4 of hearts. The flop came A-9-6 with two hearts and Laak check-called a bet of 750 from the young internet huntress. The nine on the turn resulted in a pair of checks, as did a king on the river. Laak scooped the pot with second pair, inching him further up the “Poker After Dark” leaderboard.
Esfandiari, while eating ground sirloin and brown rice throughout much of Monday’s kickoff episode, led out for 850 on a board of 8-8-4-10 with two hearts holding 10-4 of diamonds. Obrestad made the call with A-9 to see a five on the river. Esfandiari bet 2,400 and Obrestad called, shipping the pot of 7,900 to “The Magician.” Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, who was also part of “Nicknames” week, triumphantly identified what Esfandiari had: “He flopped two pair and turned three pair. Do you know how hard that is to do?”
Matusow hawked copies of his book, “Check-Raising the Devil,” which includes a foreword penned by Hellmuth. Not to be outdone, “The Poker Brat” declared that he enjoys partying with 2009 WSOP Main Event November Nine member Phil Ivey and discussed his then-upcoming appearance on a VH1 weight loss show, “First to 100.” Hellmuth was set to team with fellow UB.com pro Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon for the series, which ultimately never panned out.
In the final hand shown on the kickoff episode, Esfandiari raised to 850 with 8-7 and Laak called from the small blind with K-10 of spades. The flop of 8-5-K with two spades offered a little sniff for everyone, but the action went check-check. An offsuit four hit on the turn, leading to a bet of 1,125 from Laak. Esfandiari made the call and the turn was an offsuit queen. Laak bet 1,850 and Esfandiari mucked, giving “The Unabomber” a 6,100-chip pot.
You can catch episodes of “Nicknames” week through Friday on NBC nightly at 2:05am ET. After this week, no new episodes of “Poker After Dark” will air until March, although re-runs will still be shown each night.