The headline “Felix Stephensen wins Norwegian Poker Championship in Norway” might not appear newsworthy on the surface, but it’s actually a significant event for both the player and the country.
Earlier this year it was announced that, for the first time in the tournament’s history, the Norwegian Poker Championship would be held in Norway.
Up until now the organizers had been forced to hold the event in neighboring countries; however, following a recommendation by Norway’s Ministry of Culture, home games, small tournaments and national poker events were finally allowed to be held across the country.
Part of the reason for this change of heart came courtesy of Norwegian high stakes pro, Ola Amundsgard.
After issuing a challenge to every Norwegian politician, the pro played Erlend Wiborg heads-up for 10,000 and not only won, but proved that there is a high degree of skill in poker.
That public event changed the general public’s perception of poker and helped to bring about a legal change that, ultimately, resulted in the Norwegian Poker Championships coming home.
Taking up the mantle and organizing the events was the Amaya owned, Global Poker Tours Ltd. Holding a series of affordable regional events that all led up to a $580 finale in Oslo, the championship recent came to a conclusion and the man taking home the top prize was the aforementioned Stephensen.
Held inside the Thon Hotel in Gardermoen, Oslo, the $580 tournament attracted 1,973 players a total that far exceeded the 1,274 entrants that anted-up in the last Norwegian Championship held in Dublin.
After carving his way through the mammoth field, the 2014 WSOP Main Event runner-up found himself second in chips at the final table. Maintaining his cool as the chips began to fly, Stephensen cruised into the final two, but faced a chip deficit.
Fortunately, the Norwegian pro didn’t experience a repeat of his 2014 WSOP performance and gradually eased into the lead before sealing the deal in a classic pair vs. AK race.
After scooping the final pot, a delighted Stephensen posed for pictures before collecting his $162,497 top prize.
In addition to Stephensen raking in a huge haul, the Norwegian charity, Blodkreftforeningen (which deals with leukemia), also benefited from the first Championship held on home soil as 5% of all the buy-ins collected throughout the series were given to the charity.
1st. Felix Stephensen – $162,497
2nd. Silje Nilsen – $89,452
3rd. Anders Bjerk – $61,898
4th. Andreas Fardal – $44,435
5th. Jens Petter Johansen – $36,887
6th. Haakon Garberg – $29,766
7th. Erik Fjell – $22,799
8th. Simon Other Solberg – $16,066