Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Lodden’

Norway Finally legalizing Poker Tournaments

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Norway has spawned several world-famous poker pros in Annette Obrestad, Johnny Lodden and Thor Hansen. This is quite amazing when you consider that these players can’t even enjoy a legal poker tournament on their home soil. Luckily, that’s set to change with Norway’s Culture Minister, Thorhild Widvey, calling for the legalization of poker tourneys.

At this time, the only forms of legal gaming in Norway are the lottery and limited sports betting. Widvey and other politicians in the country’s newly elected Progress Party coalition government are moving towards expanding the gaming market to capitalize on revenue.

This expanded market will most likely include poker as Widvey recently wrote, “I hope we can have a regulatory framework in place in time for a Norway championship of poker to be held in Norway in 2015… the Gaming Act permits the government to allow tournaments through regulation and therefore it is probably not a matter for Parliament.”

A Norwegian Poker Championship would definitely be a great way to usher in a new era of poker freedoms. However, Norwegian players shouldn’t expect too many freedoms because the current proposal only allows for low stakes tournaments. But any tournament is better than none, even if buy-ins are capped at $500 (or whatever the case may be).

It’s interesting timing that Norway is moving closing towards legalizing poker tournaments. Just a couple of months ago, Ola “Odd Oddsen” Amundsgaard challenged politician Erlan Wiborg to a PLO heads-up match.

The idea was to beat Wiborg bad enough that Amundsgaard could show poker is indeed a game of skill. He definitely accomplished this feat too after Wiborg lost $2,666 in their first online session and quickly threw in the towel. We have to think that this publicity might have a little to do with generating more government goodwill towards poker.

Johnny Lodden discusses Bleak Norwegian Poker Situation

Friday, May 10th, 2013

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.