For many professional poker players, the opportunities for endorsements – either around the game of poker or outside of the game in the mainstream market – can be few and far between. As a result, many have taken the track of signing with poker agents who can be particularly forceful in gaining the player that exposure. Thus, the announcement this week of one of the most popular and successful female players in the game signing with an agent could be taken as an expected result.
It was announced on Wednesday that inaugural World Series of Poker Europe champion Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad has signed a deal with Poker Royalty, one of the most powerful poker representation agencies in the industry. Although no dollar amounts were mentioned, the deal between Obrestad and Poker Royalty will see the company take over worldwide management of her career, marketing her to potential suitors such as sponsorship deals (Obrestad has held several different sponsor deals with online rooms, including Betfair and Full Tilt Poker but, at this moment, is currently unsponsored), licensing deals and speaking engagements.
“I am thrilled to announce I am officially signed to Poker Royalty,” Obrestad stated during the announcement of the completion of the deal in London. “I have known about the company for a few years and know their positive reputation in the business is well deserved. I am relying on them to help me advance my poker career to the next level.”
The director of European operations for Poker Royalty, Jim Erwood, was obviously excited about snaring one of the top names in the game. “Annette is without question one of the biggest names in poker and certainly one of the top few females in the world playing the game today,” Erwood said during the announcement. “Poker Royalty is extremely proud and delighted to announce Annette’s signing and is looking forward to helping her cement her reputation in the game.”
Obrestad’s overall career record is something that any poker player, male or female, would envy. Her illustrious online poker career started at the tender age of fifteen, where she played freerolls to build a bankroll, and continued through the legendary task of playing an entire tournament without looking at her hole cards. Thoroughly versed in her highly aggressive game, once Obrestad turned 18 she unleashed her talents on the live tournament poker world.
The phenomenon known as “Annette_15” exploded on the poker scene in 2007. After three small cashes in European Poker Tour and Irish Poker Open preliminary events, Obrestad came to London in August to tackle the first ever venture by the World Series of Poker outside the confines of the United States. In battling her way through the 362 player field to win the £1 million first place prize, Obrestad also was able to put her mark on a record that will probably never be broken as the youngest person ever to win a WSOP bracelet (days short of her 19th birthday).
Since that breakthrough championship, Obrestad has cashed in tournaments around the world and on every major tournament circuit. She has pulled in over $3.7 million in career earnings along with her WSOP bracelet, placing her fourth on the all-time women’s money earnings list behind only Kathy Liebert, Vanessa Selbst and Annie Duke.
With the signing of Obrestad to a representation deal, Poker Royalty is definitely pushing further into the European poker community. Although the company can count former World Champion Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen and Eugene Katchalov among its clients, the signing of Obrestad is the first high-profile European female signing for the company. As they have been around since 2003, Obrestad should expect great things from her partnership with Poker Royalty.