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Scandinavian News

by Ola Brandborn |  Published: Feb 01, 2008


Nordic Champions
Kristian Ejvegård is the latest Swedish champion, winning the Swedish Poker Championship, which was organised by the Swedish Poker Federation together with The main event, an online no-limit Texas hold'em tournament, had 10,000 in starting chips and 25-minute blinds, and took three (!) days to finish. The first day was played down from 2,666 players to the money, the second day was played down to the final table, and the third day decided everything. I've never heard of an online tournament with such a good and playable structure before. Well done to all involved.

The Norwegian champion is Ole Johann Steinvik. In Norway, it was played down to 30 players, who then faced off against each other with computers at a party in Oslo. Everything was filmed and broadcast on Viasat 4. Well done here, too, by and the Norwegian Poker Federation.

Meanwhile, the Stockholm School of Economics won the Swedish university team poker championship by beating the other team from the capital - the Royal Institute of Technology. These two schools are usually rivals in everything in Stockholm. Since I graduated from the latter, I feel a bit sad having to congratulate the economists.

I've written about some trials in earlier columns, and one has now been decided in a higher instance. A club in Halmstad, Sweden, was prosecuted and acquitted of charges in tingsrätten, the first court. The Swedish Lottery Inspection appealed to hovrätten, the second instance, which reached the verdict "oh really." The court decided that the arrangers had in fact broken the law, but that the crime was so small that there would be no punishment. Don't disturb us again, so to speak … I guess you could say that neither side won. In other words, it's still illegal to arrange poker tournaments, but in small and private settings, the crime is so petty that the courts won't care.

Norway to Copy the UIGEA
A few years ago, a Swedish Minister for Industry, Employment, and Communications said, "Norway is the last Soviet state." He probably didn't know how right he was - as Norway seems to be preparing to copy the American Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in order to put a ban on money transfers to and from gambling companies. The poor Norwegians have plenty of oil money, but no rights to do what they want with said money.

Svenska Spel's Plans are Stopped
Svenska Spel is an online poker site owned by the Swedish state, at which only Swedes are allowed to play. It had plans on creating a network of state monopolies in which the Swedish and Austrian authorities would participate, but this network, which was to be launched early in the year, has been stopped by the Swedish government. The reason is unofficial but clear: The EU is trying to force Sweden to let go of its gambling monopoly, and the government is trying to claim that it has it in order to protect the health of its citizens. Joining forces with another country would not impress the EU. At the same time, the ongoing poker and monopoly study has been extended until June 30.

Ola Brandborn is a writer and blogger for