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Scandinavian News

by Ola Brandborn |  Published: Oct 01, 2007

Good News From Denmark
A Danish court has judged in favor of poker players: Poker isn't just a game of luck, it also requires a substantial amount of skill - thus making tournament poker legal! The key seems to be, as always in Scandinavia, organising only freezeout tournaments, and not cash games.

Frederik Hostrup, chairman of the Danish Poker Federation, got sued by a Danish trade organisation for hotels and restaurants - the organisation had been asked to do so by the Danish casinos! - but was acquitted of the charges. Unless there's an appeal within 14 days, something I strongly expect to happen, tournament poker in Denmark will effectively be legal, with buy-ins of up to €50/$75. The laws on the subject are very similar to each other in all of the Nordic countries, and effectively state that you can't attempt to gain anything economically and commercially by organising gambling. In this case, however, since the Danes ruled that poker isn't gambling but a game of skill, poker thus is exempt from the law! It also means that poker is finally on the same level as traditional games like bridge, which can be played for money despite the (small) element of luck involved in it - something we've tried to argue for years. But, as I said, I doubt we've seen the final word on the matter yet.

World Series of Poker
Scandinavians got no bracelets during the World Series of Poker this year, but we got close. Rene Mouritsen from Denmark finished second in two events, $1,500 mixed hold'em and $10,000 pot-limit Omaha. Sweden, Finland, and Norway also produced several very good results, of which I think Chris Bjorin's - he's a Swede living in London - three final tables are worth the most respect. He has entries in the Hendon Mob database that are 20 years old, and now finally reclaimed the lead in the Swedish lifetime winnings race, a position that Martin de Knijff has held since he won the World Poker Tour Championship in the tournament's second season. We've had Swedes at the final table for three years in a row (Andersson, Bergsdorff, Friberg), but this year the Nordic countries were defended by a Dane, Philip Hilm, who had the chip lead going into the final day but went out in eighth place.

The Swedish Team Poker League
This fall we'll see the fourth straight season of the national Swedish team poker league. Most clubs will arrange their own heats, with the best teams going into a final tournament in Tallinn, Estonia, in December. The team-poker format is gaining support and has even been used by the Swedish Casino Cosmopol. In short, players compete as usual, but can never sit at the same table as their teammates. They can switch seats during the breaks, or move chips amongst each other. Online poker room has bought the rights to the online version of the format, and is planning to launch a separate team-poker client this upcoming autumn.

Ola Brandborn is a blogger and writer for