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Obrestad Debuts on Poker After Dark

Obrestad, Lindgren, and Hellmuth Among The Six Competing


Poker After DarkPoker has become a sport wherein players are identified by their personalities, trademarks, and success, often resulting in sticky aliases. This week, NBC is premiering brand-new Poker After Dark (PAD) episodes, and it’s featuring players with nicknames. It all starts tonight at 2:05 a.m.

The six players putting up the $20,000 to play for the $120,000 winner-take-all first-place prize, Annette “The Huntress” Obrestad, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, Erick “E-Dog” Lindgren, Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, and Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth. Obrestad is making her Poker After Dark premiere having just turned 21 in 2009. Esfandiari and Lindgren will be looking to book their first PAD wins.

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The following are interesting facts about the players, courtesy of PAD:

Annette Obrestad: (Seat 1)

  • Nicknamed “The Huntress,” she is a 21-year-old professional poker player who resides in Sandnes, Norway
  • Known as Annette_15 online, she began playing poker when she was 15 years old and amassed in excess of $1.75 million in online tournament winnings prior to the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe main event, which she won
  • Career live tournament winnings in excess of $2.84 million, ranking No. 1 on Norway’s all-time money list, and also ranks No. 3 on the women’s all-time money list, trailing only Kathy Liebert and Annie Duke
  • Is the youngest bracelet holder in WSOP history, and also holds the record for the largest cash by a woman in history, just over $2 million
  • In July 2007, defeated 179 players in an online tournament while only looking at her holecards once, and then only because she was faced with an all-in decision. She says she did it to show the importance of playing position and focusing on the other players at the table

Mike Matusow: (Seat 2)

  • Known as “The Mouth” for trash talking at the tables, and one of poker’s most recognizable players
  • Winner of three WSOP bracelets, his latest in the prestigious 2008 $5,000 no-limit 2-7 draw event with rebuys
  • Lifetime live tournament winnings in excess of $7.29 million, and ranks 23rd on the all-time money list
  • Won a $100,000 prop bet with Ted Forrest at the beginning of the 2008 WSOP by losing more than 50 pounds since the 2007 WSOP, weighing in at a svelte 179
  • Released his autobiography entitled Check-Raising the Devil in May 2009, a candid and revealing look at his life and the battles he’s faced with demons over the years

Antonio Esfandiari: (Seat 3)

  • Nicknamed “The Magician” for having been a professional magician before becoming a poker player
  • Winner of one WSOP bracelet and one WPT event
  • Career live tournament winnings in excess of $3.56 million
  • Went deep in the 2009 WSOP main event, finishing 24th, collecting his biggest WSOP payday ever of nearly $353,000
  • Hired Mindset Coach Sam Chauhan for a six-month period beginning in 2009 to help him regain his poker focus and his hunger and desire to win

Erick Lindgren: (Seat 4)

  • Nicknamed “E-Dog” and a very popular player among fans
  • Won his first WSOP bracelet in 2008, and also made two other final tables
  • Lifetime live tournament winnings in excess of $7.39 million, and ranks 22nd on the all-time money list
  • Started playing poker full-time as a prop player for a California casino at the age of 21, and was hired by then poker room manager Bill Edler
  • Author of the book Making the Final Table

Phil Laak: (Seat 5)

  • Nicknamed “The Unabomber” for the trademark hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses he usually wears
  • Holder of one WPT invitational title, and won the World Open V in London in October 2009, good for $250,000
  • Career live tournament winnings in excess of $1.68 million
  • May be the man mostly responsible for “hoodies” becoming popular apparel among poker players
  • Known for his unusual and often humorous antics and mannerisms at the table

Phil Hellmuth: (Seat 6)

  • Known as the “Poker Brat,” a name he now embraces, and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in July 2007
  • 1989 World Champion, and won his 11th WSOP bracelet in 2007, making him the first and only person in history to own so many
  • Career live tournament winnings in excess of $10.99 million, and ranks fourth on the all-time money list, despite never having a cash for more than $755,000
  • With six cashes in the 2009 WSOP, now has more WSOP cashes (75) and has made more WSOP final tables (41) than any other player in history
  • His fame has given him the opportunity to be involved in many businesses on the side, and he is highly acknowledged as the game’s best self-promoter

Nicknames week will begin airing on NBC late tonight/tomorrow morning at 2:05 a.m. and will continue for four more consecutive nights in the same timeslot. A special “Director’s Cut” episode will air late night Saturday at 1 a.m., right after Saturday Night Live.

Card Player TV got some behind the footage and interviews at the filming of this week’s Poker After Dark. Find it at or click the picture below.

Poker After Dark