Up until 2015, poker was on the list of illegal gambling games in Norway. That year, the government lifted the restrictions and allowed poker players to participate in low-stakes poker games under specific conditions.
The games can’t be played professionally, mustn’t exceed a particular limit, and must be organized in a private home by a group of people from the same region or area.
As if this weren’t enough, Norwegian citizens who are professional international poker players and don’t have a residence elsewhere must pay a hefty tax percentage on all of their winnings, regardless of where they obtained them.
Despite all of these stringent rules and the game’s long underground illegality, poker has managed to become a prevalent pastime for many Norwegians.
What’s more, there have been many successful Norwegian players that have made their mark in poker tournaments.
Felix Vincent Stephensen
Talking about the best poker players to ever come out of Norway and not include Felix Vincent Stephensen just isn’t possible.
As the highest-earning Norwegian poker player, Felix has amassed over $5.8 million in tournament earnings.
He almost did exactly that, finishing second to fellow Scandinavian Martin Jacobson, banking a whopping $5.1 million.
Since this impressive win at the 2014 WSOP, Felix hasn’t managed to net any multi-million wins, although he did maintain his solid winning streak over the years.
In 2015, he won the Norwegian Championship Nationals Main Event. In 2016, he won the Turbo 8 Handed event in the EPT in Barcelona.
With earnings surpassing $2.2 million, Preben Stokkan is firmly in the top 10 list of the most successful poker players from Norway.
A Norwegian by birth, he’s been residing in London, UK, ever since his first significant poker successes.
Preben claimed victory in several big tournaments. The most notable was his win in the partypoker Live Caribbean Party in 2017, as well as taking the main prize at the Main Event of the 2016 Norwegian Championships National.
Although he finished 21st in the overall tournament standings, this was more than enough to net him $324,000 and close to 160 GPI points.
However, in just the first few months after turning 18, Annette was already wreaking havoc online, winning close to $1 million during a rather short period.
Besides being a prolific poker player, Annette has also expanded her ventures on many other platforms. Most notably, she runs a YouTube channel called Annette’s Makeup Corner, which has over 40 thousand subscribers.
But, don’t let her makeup tutorials fool you. Underneath the eyeshadow lies one of the most successful female poker players of all time.
The late and great Thor Hansen is not only one of the best poker players Norway has ever had but also one of the most electrifying players to watch.
With total career winnings coming just shy of $3 million, Thor Hansen won many tournaments in his time, performing well in Seven-Card Stud events, as well as in Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments.
He recorded two money finishes on the EPT and four ITM finishes on the WPT. His track record of 46 ITM finishes and two World Series of Poker bracelets speaks heaps about his poker skills and great natural talent for the game.
He previously played under the username “bad_ip” and also used the alias “Lars-Magne” on PokerStars.
During his early poker years, he used to be a member of both Team Pro PokerStars and Team PartyPoker.
In terms of live tournaments, his biggest live prize came from finishing 3rd in the 2013 EPT Main Event in Monte Carlo, for which he won a little over $610,000.
Two years later, he finished 4th in the same tournament and won his second-largest amount totaling $425,000.
Lodden has garnered wider public attention thanks to the popular game “Lodden Thinks,” in which two players place bets on what the third player thinks is the answer to a particular question.
This game was invented by two poker greats, Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari, during the World Series of Poker Europe. Johnny Lodden was the third party involved in the guessing game that the two played to pass the time between poker hands.