Annette Obrestad is one of the youngest players to ever win a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet, making her a bonafide world champion. Doyle Brunson was a world champion before Annette was even born. How is it that both of these poker players are world class athletes in the same sport? Building a craft at any professional endeavor should take years to accomplish, yet you have two players from completely different age brackets both with world class credentials.
Annette Obrestad: Internet Poker Phenom
The rise of Internet poker has given people to play poker on a much larger scale than ever before. The ability to see a lot of hands in a short period of time and to also play multiple tables at the same time creates a massive advantage for a young person looking to climb the ladder of poker talent around the world. That is, effectively, what the generation of players that include Oberstad have done and it’s one of the unique facets to poker as a competitive sport.
This video claims: Annette Obrestad has already played just as many hands of poker as Doyle Brunson has in his career. Is that a stupid thing to say or not?
Doyle Brunson: Establish A Baseline
Doyle Brunson won his first WSOP bracelet in 1976 at 43 years old. He has dedicated his life to poker, a large part of which he was a road gambler traveling from game to game, following the action with pals like Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. Let’s assume that he started at the young age of 13 years old, when means that he put in about 30 years worth of poker hands before becoming a world champion. We have to factor in time spent driving from town to town and times when maybe there were forced breaks due to a lack of action. Let’s assign a value of 2,000 hours of actual poker play per year. Make no mistake about it, that’s still a lot of poker! So now we have Brunson playing about 60,000 hours of poker before winning his first WSOP bracelet.
Live poker games tend to be slow when compared to online games. Assuming a relatively competent dealer and players, you’re still only looking at about 30 hands per hour of play. We can now assign a value of 1.8 million hands of poker to Brunson’s career.
We can establish a baseline of 1.8 million hands of poker; that’s approximately how many hand Brunson played before winning his first WSOP bracelet
The Speed of Online Play
Now that we have a baseline, let’s walk backwards into what an online poker player can achieve.
- An online poker player can average about 100 hands/hour for each table
- A player can train themselves to play 6 tables in a relatively short amount of time; many players play a lot more tables than this
- Due to the popularity of online poker, there are virtually always games available. There’s no waiting for games to start or having to drive from casino to casino.
- Due to the time savings and comfort of being at home, a player can log a large number of hours of overall play
We are now left with a player that can play about 600 hands/hour and only needs about 3,000 hours of online play in order to reach 1.8 million hands. Given a light schedule of 1,000 hours of poker per year, a dedicated player can reach this goal in about 3 years. A more aggressive mindset (or perhaps someone who plays more than 6 tables simultaneously) can get there within a year’s time with a concerted effort.
It is a very reasonable goal for a dedicated player to reach 1.8 million hands in 1 to 3 years time with online poker play
That’s quite an amazing feat for a complete amateur to accomplish. It makes poker very unique because this same level of competency cannot be achieved in any other sport. You cannot go out and swim as many laps as Michael Phelps because you can only swim one lap at a time. But with the ability to play multiple hands at a time, a player can attempt to match the same hand counts as some of the greatest poker players on the planet.
Now, does this guarantee success as a poker player? No, of course not. But it certainly puts you in a better position than you would be otherwise and allows you to have a large base of experience to draw from. So, maybe this statement in Vegas wasn’t so stupid; it is completely reasonable to think that Annette Obrestad has played just as many hands as Brunson and her results certainly reflect that.