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Scandinavian News

by Ola Brandborn |  Published: Jul 01, 2007

It's official: I'm the worst poker player in Sweden! I had pocket sevens on a flop of 10-9-7 during the Swedish Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. Obviously, flopped sets are worthless against A-10. After another 10 on the turn and a 9 on the river, I was very low on chips, and a few hands later, I got knocked out with pocket jacks against two low pair. In other words, I was the first to get sent off to the rail, of almost 300 players.

The winner of the tournament was Carl-Johan Geijer, but the most positive thing for our beloved hobby is that of eight competing women, two made the final table! Karin Lundgren (a regular European Poker Tour player) finished fifth, and Michaela Johansson (who usually plays $25-$50 no-limit hold'em on CryptoLogic as "Mikka") was the runner-up. This has given poker much space in Swedish media lately. I was cheering for the girls, as that would have been even better for poker, but I'll still have to be very satisfied with the results. Even my mom is beginning to understand that poker nowadays isn't played in smoke-filled basements with whisky bottles all over the place.

Alandian Championships
The Alandian Championships, or the Paf Poker Challenge, as it's also called, got a Finnish winner - Jani Karke. I don't know of any other tournament where you have a seaside view while playing. When you're busted, you go downstairs to the nightclub and party all night long. Despite almost nonexistent advertising, 80 eager players arrived for a weekend of equal parts poker and party. Unfortunately, there are too few hotel rooms on the Åland Islands (an autonomic group of islands between Finland and Sweden) to hold an EPT event there; if there were more, I think Åland would have been the most popular event on the tour.

Norwegian Championships
The Norwegian champion is Steffan Kristoffersen. The Norwegians held their nationals at Casino Cosmopol in Sweden, as Norway is one of the few casino-free countries in Europe. This event in particular has caused some controversy in Sweden. Foreign betting companies are not allowed to arrange satellites to Casino Cosmopol's tournaments - only the Swedish state's poker client can. But somehow, the Norwegians managed to buy 340 out of 400 seats to the event, seats that they then sold to the various sponsors amongst the poker sites. Heads are going to roll at either the lottery inspection department or the casino.

More Swedish Championships
Since the Swedish Poker Federation is very young and therefore doesn't have final say in all local matters like most sports federations do, there has been a dispute in Sweden the last few years over which event really is the Swedish Championships. Apparently, having one is not enough, and last year several poker sites had their own nationals. This year, the aforementioned Casino Cosmopol has decided to hold one, as well - during the summer, when most pros will be in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. Only time will tell which tournament is the real deal, but I know what I think.

Ola Brandborn is a blogger and writer for