Johnny Lodden has earned countless millions in live and online poker cash games. Plus he’s added another $1,250,499 in live tournaments. But with the current poker situation in Norway, even Lodden is having a hard time.
According to him, the biggest problems facing Norwegian poker are the mafia, ridiculously-high taxes, and live games being illegal. He recently addressed these problems in an interview with PokerListings.
Lodden addressed both the mafia and illegal live poker by saying, “We play online and we do also get to play live poker in illegal clubs. Nowadays it is really hard with the legislation and the mafia coming in and taking over some of the clubs in Norway.”
“Now we have started up a new club which is really nice, but of course we don’t have as many players as before. When they know the mafia might be involved and they have families they don’t want to play anymore and risk anything.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if the current situation will change any time soon. Norway’s favored political party (Hoyre) isn’t in favor of poker, which means they’re unlikely to change the illegal status of live games. Based on this, Lodden doesn’t think Norwegian poker players have much to look forward to at this point.
“We have everything against us. It is annoying to pay so much tax (half of winnings), but I do not mind paying my taxes since I live in a country where everyone pay taxes, that is how it is. However, I would like a tax system where you pay less tax on your winnings and where you can tell the authorities that you did not win anything this year so you cannot pay taxes.”
While things are tough for Norway’s poker players in general, at least Lodden has a deal with PokerStars to fall back on. And he’ll be representing the world’s largest online poker site this year at the 2013 WSOP. Lodden is hoping to win his first career WSOP gold bracelet.