Historic Norwegian poker championship over

Written by:
Published on:
The first poker championship to ever be arranged on Norwegian soil took place in

The first poker championship to ever be arranged on Norwegian soil took place in Oslo this week and the event was closely followed by local Norwegian Poker sites such as Norskcasino.com (site in Norwegian). The finals followed 5 county championships, that saw the county champions and 2000 players fight for the titles in Oslo. The highlight of the tournament was the main event, which saw poker star Felix Stephensen becoming historic by taking home the first national title. Stephensen who made a big name internationally last year, when he was the runner up at the WSOP main event in Vegas, collected winnings of 160 000 USD. 

A snap of the Norwegian poker history

The fact that this year’s poker championships were the first ever to be played in Norway deserves an explanation. Until March this year playing poker for money was considered an illegal activity in Norway. Actually, Norway is one of the few countries in the world with a gambling monopoly, where all gambling activities are controlled by the government. That is, all activities not happening online. As it happens to be, Norwegians are extremely active on the internet; with the number of Norwegians playing poker online growing drastically over the last decade. The interest is actually so strong that the Norwegians up till now have moved their poker championship abroad, just to be able to play their favorite card game legally.

The breakthrough for poker in Norway came after the elections in Norway in the autumn of 2014. This saw a new government taking seat, with the blue wing pressing hard for passing a law on legalizing poker. They managed to get half the way, with the Gaming Authority accepting that the national championship could be arranged on Norwegian soil, under the rule of the event being organized by a charity organization. To date, all other poker and gambling activities are still considered illegal under Norwegian law.

The first state champions awarded

With the Norwegian poker history in mind, you now can understand why the poker championship in Norway was a historic event for the poker community. Shortly after the announcement came in March this year, the Norwegian Poker Federation (Site in Norwegian) announced the start of the first ever Norwegian poker championship. The event would begin with 5 county championships, and the first took place in Oslo already early October. Over 600 poker enthusiasts participated and after two days of intense poker, Gunnar Welde was announced as the first ever Norwegian county poker champion.

The county championships then moved on to Kristiansand. Again the organizers could see the strong interest in the game, with a crowd of nearly 300 turning up. Here Stian Gausdal took the title as “Sørlandsmester”. The third county championship took place in Bodø, where Håvard Eggen beat 150 others to become the champion. Trondheim hosted the fourth state championship in early November. The interest for poker is clearly strong also in these parts of Norway, seeing almost 350 players showing up. After two days, Sigurd Ammodt took home the state championship. Bergen, the second biggest city in Norway hosted the fifth and final county championship. Here, Karsten Bernhard Karlsen beat nearly 250 players by becoming the Bergen champion and was the last county champion to win buy in for the main event in Oslo.

Poker Championship – 4 days and 3 events

Almost 2000 players had made their way to Oslo to participate in the poker championship. 4 hectic days would see 3 champions be awarded from Pot Limit Omaha, Turbo Poker and the main event. The latter being the most attractive, both in terms of fame and prize money. The Pot Limit tournament saw 324 players starting, shortly decreasing to 53 after the first day of play. The game saw a lot of new talent making it through, but also with a few big names. The biggest of them all was the WSOP star Felix Stephensen. However, Felix stopped as number 26 as no one could seem to stop Simen Birkelund taking home the Pot Limit Omaha title, awarding him with 18 500 USD worth of prize money.

If Felix Stephensen could be stopped at Pot Limit Omaha, he was unstoppable in the main event where it was played no limit Hold’em. Beating as many as 1973 players, he became the first ever poker champion in Norway. But it was a tough call, with Felix coming heads up with the best female player of the tournament, Silje Nilsen, who came second. The two players went both all in at the end, and it was the final river that saw Felix taking home the championship.

The final event of the poker championships were the No limit Hold’em turbo. Although a little overshadowed by the main event, 1304 players participated. Lots of the big Norwegian poker names could be spotted around the tables on the first day, but none of them made it to the final. International poker star Johnny Lodden was the best of the starts, making it to number 30. Therefore it was an unknown player who took home the last title of the event, with Jens Sevaldsen cashing in the prize of 38 000 dollars. This marked the end of the first Norwegian poker championship ever to be held on Norwegian soil, but definitely not the last one.