Some of the best Norwegian poker players have confirmed their arrival at the Battle of Malta, as Johnny Lodden and Thor Hansen will be playing the prestigious event together with around 200 other Norwegian poker players, breaking last years 100 Norwegian player attendance significantly.
Pokerlistings.com talked to Johnny Lodden about why he thinks that Malta and the Battle of Malta can attract so many Norwegians, compared to other tournaments in other countries. Lodden believes that one of the main reasons is the weather, which in November isn't the best in Norway.
“The cold is starting to arrive in Norway, so Malta in November is enough good reason for me. I will bring my family with me and will see it is a small vacation after the focus on my trial this autumn (Lodden sued the Norwegian tax authorities over some poker losses and won) and then I can combine it with a bit of poker.” Lodden said to Pokerlistings.
Johnny Lodden at a live tournament
Lodden also said that until it is completely legal to host tournaments in Norway, either privately, in clubs or in casino's, players will continue to go abroad to play live poker tournaments.
“As long as we do not have casinos in Norway and it is illegal to play, many Norwegians will travel abroad to play. The Norwegian Championships has attracted a couple of thousand players to Dublin, and I think it is also the combination of having a fun trip with friends and enjoying your hobby at the same time what draws people.” Lodden said.
Norway has regulated live poker tournaments recently, wanting to legalize it under controlled conditions. While this is an improvement compared to earlier years, it won't change much for Norwegians as they still won't have the chance to play big tournaments similar to the Battle of Malta in Norway under the new rules.
Lodden is not the only well known Norwegian which has been invited to the Battle of Malta by Pokerlistings, as the legend Thor Hansen, also known as the Godfather of Poker in Norway, will be attending the tournament as well.
Thor Hansen has received a special invite by Pokerlistings, as they want to reward Hansen for his poker career by giving him a Pokerlistings Spirit of Poker Award in the Living Legend Category. A living legend is probably the best word to describe Thor, who is beloved by poker players around the world and is a symbol of poker in Norway, having made the game popular there.
The Godfather of Poker, Thor Hansen
Lodden is very happy that Hansen will receive the Pokerlistings Spirit of Poker Award, as he is a close friend to Hansen.
“This will be a big honour for Thor. He is a legend in Norway and deserves the award. He always takes time to talk to everybody and has a positive outlook.” Lodden said about Hansen receiving the award.
The two close friends will be battling each other at the Battle of Malta, along with a third Norwegian tournament pro, Andreas Hoivold, and around 197 other Norwegians coming to conquer Malta and show the world how they play poker.