"A meteoric run" – Former poker prodigy Annette Obrestad takes Scrabble world by storm

Dave Woods
Posted on: February 15, 2024 07:30 PST

It's a name we haven't heard for a while, but it turns out Annette Obrestad is still monstering tournaments – she's just swapped playing cards for letter tiles.

Scrabble is her latest passion, and Obrestad is now mixing it with the world's best, albeit at lower stakes than when she became the youngest ever WSOP bracelet winner at the age of 18.

That came back in September 2007, when she won a cool £1,000,000 and the first ever WSOP Europe Main Event. She turned 19 the next day. Obrestad went on to win close to $4 million in her poker career, but she started playing less and less from 2010 onwards. Her last recorded cash was in 2018.

Since then, she's run a successful YouTube make-up channel. And she's now set her sights on the Scrabble world, where her current earnings are listed at $1,145. Her last recorded cash was in the Crescent City Cup.

And that's where this story takes us now.

Annette Obrestad Annette Obrestad back in her poker days rocking a Full Tilt patch

"The rise she has had up the rankings is astronomical"

Josh Sokol is a scrabble influencer who likes his poker as well. And he was made up when he found himself up against Obrestad at the business end of the Crescent City Cup.

"Poker is a great game," Sokol said after the game, "and I've watched hours and hours of YouTube highlights... I think watching all of this poker content has probably improved my Scrabble, at least the psychological part of the game.

"There's also a lot of overlap between Scrabble and poker, not only in the gameplay but also the people. I have a lot of friends who play poker semi-professionally or professionally, or have done so in the past just to make money so that they can go to Scrabble tournaments.

"But what of poker pros that have tried to play Scrabble? Has that ever happened? Well, it might sound like a fantasy but it's actually happened and it's actually happening right now."

Obrestad's match vs. Sokol was her penultimate game of the Crescent City Cup, and she was still very much in with a chance of winning her first major event.

We'll pass the mic to the expert Scrabble commentator now: "The rise that she [Obrestad] has had up the rankings is astronomical. She played her first Scrabble tournament just two years ago... And now she's in first place with two games to go.

"I don't think I've ever seen a player go from beginner to about to win a major tournament quite so quickly. It's truly a meteoric run. And hopefully she can cap it off here, but it will not be easy. She has to go through defending North American champion Josh Sokol to get there."

Can she do it? Find out below.

In the end, it wasn't to be for Obrestad. She beat Sokol but came unstuck against Jackson Smylie in her final game, losing 418 to 466.

Obrestad ended up fourth for her biggest Scrabble cash of $750.

We'll bring you more updates from Obrestad's assault on the Scrabble world as we get them.