Learning basic Texas Holdem rules and strategies is simple enough. Every beginner can do it in a relatively short time and this is what makes poker so universally popular and all over the globe.
One country that has seen a particular influx of new players during 2020 is the small Scandinavian country of Norway.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the gambling industry and put a halt to all live poker tournaments worldwide. However, global lockdown has brought on a rapid switch to the online world.
Nowhere is this more visible than in Norway, a country that has seen a massive online poker rush since the start of 2020.
Unlike anything seen before in their online entertainment industry, the Norwegian poker market has exploded in the past twelve months. So, why exactly has online poker experienced such a rush in Norway?
Quick History of Poker in Norway
Before we jump into the current situation of the country's poker landscape, let's take a few seconds to mention the heritage this game has built up in Norway over the years.
The country has a strong poker tradition, and although it only numbers a population of a little over 5.3 million, Norway has seen its fair share of respectable poker pros.
Norway has produced numerous poker talents, with quite a few of them regarded as some of the best ever to hit the felt.
Players from this country are known as very tactical and aggressive with their betting. This is especially true when it comes to the female poker world, in which Annette Obrestad made a big mark in the industry before turning 20.
On the men’s side of poker, Felix Stephensen holds the title of being the most successful poker player to come from this country, with earnings close to $6 million.
Besides him, many notable names, such as Andreas Hoivold, Johnny Lodden, and Thor Hansen, have recorded significant success in their professional poker careers.
Is Online Poker Legal in Norway?
One of the reasons why poker hasn’t really progressed in Norway over the years is the legal limbo the game has been in over the previous decade.
Up until 2014, poker was on the list of illegal games in the country. That year, the government finally introduced more lenient laws.
Nowadays, Norwegians can play tournaments and cash poker hands at online poker sites and online casinos.
The Growth of Online Poker in Norway
With most sporting events in the country curtailed, many people in Norway have started playing online poker to pass the time during the pandemic.
While the online poker boom has been expected, no one could have predicted that this popular activity would reach such heights in the country as it has over the previous year.
A primary reason why online poker has seen such a surge in popularity is the sheer number of options available to Norwegian poker players.
All of the major platforms, reliable payment methods, and banking options in Norwegian krone have made online poker extremely approachable to the average player in this country.
This behavioral shift among Norwegian players might also mark a significant turning point for the future.
With the convenience and accessibility, online poker brings to the table, it's highly likely that most Norwegian players will continue to play online even after the lockdown passes and live tournaments start up again.
The Rapid Spread of Mobile Poker
It’s no secret that most players from big poker markets prefer playing the game on their mobile phones nowadays.
In fact, a considerable part of the Norwegian poker player base is made up of those playing primarily from their mobile phones and tablets.
As a convenient and streamlined platform for playing online poker games, mobile devices have significantly contributed to the popularization of poker in Norway in the previous period.
A Big Boost of Video Poker Games Popularity
Alongside the classic game played with chips and cards, video poker in Norway has also seen a massive surge in popularity over the previous year.
Video poker, a staple of the online gaming community, is still holding strong as one of the most sought-after poker games among online players from this country.
Video poker hasn’t changed much over the years, but its signature rules and mechanisms are what make it so popular among the general poker population.
The thrill and the excitement that video poker brings are undoubtedly the most important reasons why it continues to attracts so many Norwegian players.
The Future of Poker in Norway
It’s been great to see so many Norwegians experiencing online poker and seeing success in the previous year.
With all of the above in mind, it’s also excellent to hear that despite such a rapid rise and popularization of the game in Norway, there have been no reports of rising gambling problems in the poker population.
This is a good sign that Norwegian players, in general, are very conscious about the game and know how to play responsibly.
One issue that has been persisting during this period is whether and how poker winnings should be taxed.
Tax laws for poker in this country are complicated and unclear. And, when talking about the future of online poker in Norway, one of the most important topics that should be resolved is the tax situation.
Although we don’t know when the industry will get back on its feet and the pandemic will end, we can be confident that the future of poker in Norway shows a lot of promise.
With so many Norwegians signing up to play online poker and getting their feet wet with the help of beginners’ poker tips, there’s no doubt that we’ll soon see a new wave of highly successful players coming out of the woodwork.