Chess streamer Anna Cramling plays poker for the first time in WCOOP Main Event

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 09/14/2021

Chess streamer Anna Cramling branched yesterday when she live-streamed her run in the WCOOP main event live on her Twitch channel. It was her first time playing poker.

The 19-year-old chess pro was up against experienced poker players, some of whom had been playing for longer than she has been alive. Even so, she held her own for a good long while.

Cramling is a Swedish chess player with a Women’s FIDE Master (won back when she was just 15) title and a peak FIDE rating of 2175 Elo. She has been live-streaming chess on Twitch since January 2020. In that time, she has racked up a fair few views. In January of this year, she signed with professional representation, which might be a factor in why she can blow $5k on her first poker outing.

Entering a $5,200 buy-in event is a pretty ballsy way to start one’s poker career. So is live streaming the game to the 161k people who follow her on Twitch. It made for pretty good entertainment, the recording has almost 30,000 views and counting.

Entering a $5,200 buy-in event is a pretty ballsy way to start one’s poker career. So is live streaming the game to the 161k people who follow her on Twitch. It made for pretty good entertainment — the recording has almost 30,000 views and counting.

Cramling entered the WCOOP 91-H: $5,200 NLHE [8-Max, NLHE Main Event] with a great deal of optimism.

Even so, she took to the game well, showing a pretty solid grasp of Texas hold ’em strategy. Especially given that three days before playing she tweeted: “Omg I’m gonna play in the World Championship of Online Poker this Sunday and I’ve never played poker before I need help.”

Those three days proved enough time for her to get the hand rankings down pat and to get to grips with starting hands, position, aggressive play, and the relative value of draws. That’s the kind of stuff that made players rich back in 2006.

Beginner’s luck

Cramling started well. About 40 minutes in, her pocket eights hit a full house on the river and her opponent overplayed top-pair, doubling Cramling up. That put her pretty high in the rankings for a while, but rising blinds and a few rough hands put her back in the middle of the pack.

About four hours in, she still had 47 big blinds in front of her when she picked up 6♣6 in the CO+1. UTG+1 raised and then min-re-raised. The CO four-bet Cramling to 10 BB and UTG called.

The flop came 3♠2♣5. UTG checked and Cramling bet 10 BB into the 32.5 BB pot. The CO made it 32.5 BB. UTG folded, Cramling called, and the turn came the Q.

Cramling check-called her remaining 5 BB and her opponent flipped over the 77♣.

A four or six could win the hand for her, but the river was a jack, ending Cramling’s run and an impressive first go at the game.

At the end of Day One, Santo “kleinebakker007” Bakker had the chip lead. Play continues today.

After busing, Cramling tweeted: “For 1 hour I was top 10 in the world championship of online poker. Then it went downhill. lol.”

What is this, a crossover episode?

To whom does Cramling ower her newfound poker skills? Well, according to her Twitter account, she learned from Daniel Negreanu‘s Masterclass.

DNegs is himself an enthusiastic amateur chess player who trained with Hikaru Nakamura ahead of Pogchamps 3. It is nice to see that he is able to pay it back.

Negreanu isn’t the only poker player to take to wood-pushing lately. After the success of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, chess has been enjoying one of its periodic booms. The result has been an increasing number of poker players taking up or getting back into chess.

The traffic has been two-way. Cramling isn’t the only chess player to give cards a go. For example, Alexandra Botez was featured at the WPT’s invitational heads-up tournament in Cabo. And Nakamura hosted The Joker’s Gambit — a chess tourney for poker players.

These sorts of crossovers are great opportunities for each game to tap into the player-base of the other. More poker please, Anna.

Featured image source: Twitch