The gambling laws in Norway are extremely draconian and out of kilter with the rest of Europe, in fact they are getting harsher as new regulations are brought in to prevent online gambling and further restrictions are being imposed on live gambling. The only gambling now allowed in Norway is the state run lottery. Although pressures on the Norwegian government are being brought by the EU, currently the local government is resisting them and sticking to their principles, which are considered outdated by many of their own population.

These laws make it extremely difficult for Poker players to thrive in this environment; however as ever where there is a will there is a way as was recently demonstrated by Henrik Tollefsen who won the 2009 Norwegian Poker Championship. In fact he won a staggering $124,000 along with a trip to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker. The venue for the Norwegian 2009 Championship was Nottingham in the UK. Poker has become very popular in Norway and over recent years some very skilled players have emerged. As they are unable to have national championships at home, they now hold them overseas.

The main event lasted for four days and there were initially 469 players. These were whittled down to a final eighteen with pot sizes ranging from $639,500 (Anders Langset) down to $58,000 (Wiggo Riis.) Henrik Tollefsen sat down with a pot of $415,200.

The second place was taken by Orjan Skommo who won $72,500 after a final heads up with Henrik lasting no more than thirty minutes. In the final hand Orjan Skommo’s Ace-10 lost against the Ace-King held by Henrik.

The Norwegian Poker Championship has been running for eight years and apart from the main event there were numerous other games with a maximum win of $47,500 taken by Oyvind Larsen.

Despite the gambling restrictions Norwegian poker players continue to make an impact on the world poker scene, both online and live. One of the top Norwegian players is Annette Obrestad, a nineteen year old teenager who has made winnings amounting to several hundred thousand pounds.

By Laura Brown
Laura Brown has been a competing member of the WSOP (World Series of Poker)and has whiteness first hand the vast amounts of money available at these events — she strongly recommends practicing with a reputable online poker site such as —