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Five Top-Tier Poker Players Hailing From Norway
We like writing about the best poker players from different states and counties, and wondered who to pen an article about this week. Norway is the country settled on after seeing the Netflix documentary, Tinder Swindler, where one of the women hailed from Norway. Thankfully, none of the five Norwegians listed below are dodgy characters, but they would all bluff you for your stack given half the chance.
Felix Stephensen Almost Won the WSOP Main Event For Norway
Felix Stephensen has the most live poker tournament winnings of any player from Norway, with a war chest of $5,850,349. Almost all that impressive sum, $5,147,911 to be exact, stems from one result in 2014.
Stephensen was one of 6,683 players who bought into the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event. He became the last player from Norway in the Main Event after the eliminations of Tor Welo and Ola Amundsgard. Stephensen navigated his way to the final table then to heads-up. However, he lost the one-on-one battle with Martin Jacobson and fell in second place. He scooped $5,147,911 while Jacobson padded his bankroll with $10,000,000.
The man from Oslo hit the live circuit for a couple of years after his big win, but his volume waned. Stephensen still plays poker, but only on rare occasions.
Annette Obrestad the Original Online Crusher From Norway
Annette Obrestad hails from Sandes, Norway, and is arguably the country’s most famous poker player. Obrestad was an online poker crusher going by the moniker “Annette_15.” Online, Obrestad won millions of dollars from MTTs thanks to her fearless, loose-aggressive style. She famously won a small stakes tournament with her hole cards covered!
Obrestad’s stock rose when she won the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event. She took down the tournament a day before her 19th birthday, making her the youngest-ever winner of a WSOP bracelet.
The Norway star lost her way in the poker world and retired a few years ago having won $3,942,232. She runs a popular make-up tutorial YouTube channel these days.
Thor Hansen the Late Poker Legend
Thor Hansen has legendary status in his native Norway thanks to putting Norwegian poker on the world map. Hansen’s first recorded live cash was in January 1987 in Las Vegas; he spent large parts of his life in Sin City.
Hansen won the first of two WSOP bracelets in 1988. He triumphed in a $5,000 Seven-Card Stud tournament for a then career-best $158,000. It took 14-years and dozens more cashes until he received his second bracelet, doing so in the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball event.
Hansen cashed in 199 events, for $2,948,644, over the years, including one in Ireland in March 2018. Sadly, Hansen lost his battle with cancer in December of the same year.
Johnny Lodden Swapped Poker For Sports Betting
Johnny Lodden occupies third place on the Norway all-time money list thanks to his $2,835,282 in winnings. However, that only tells part of the story because Lodden has won millions online, especially in cash games on untracked European sites. He was said to have a $10 million bankroll even in 2006!
Lodden reached four European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event final tables during his career. Finishing third in the 2013 EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final was the closest he came to victory. Lodden won €467,000 ($612,355) that day.
He last cashed in a live event in September 2018 and rarely plays poker these days. Indeed, word around the campfire is Lodden is a huge sports bettor, which keeps the money rolling in.
Jan Sjavik Was a Major Force in the 2000s
Jan Sjavik is still fifth in the Norway all-time money list despite only turning out for a handful of events each year. Sjavik has $2,230,880 in winnings, with $317,478 being his largest score. Sjavik won that sum for a third-place finish in the 2006 EPT London Main Event.
He won six-figure sums for seven straight years between 2001-2007. Sjavik seems to be heavily involved in Daily Fantasy Sports instead of poker.