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In 2014, Norway’s Ministry of Culture issued a recommendation asking to allow poker home games, small poker tournaments, and a national poker event inside the country. Back then, many speculated that the Norwegian Poker Championships, which had been held on foreign soil since 2008, would finally return home.

Dream come true
And so has happened. More than a year after the Ministry’s efforts, the prestigious event headed back to where it all began, and last Saturday the Vestlandsmesterskap took place in Bergen. For all the regions combined, the Norwegian Poker Union is expecting a turnout of approximately 2,000 players, which was evidenced after more than 100 players registered for the event on the first day of pre-registrations. To put that in perspective, the last edition of the Norwegian Poker Championships had 1,274 players. Indeed, a massive increase most certainly caused by the fact that the Norwegian championship, for the first time legally, takes place in Norway. This has led to many happy Norwegians.

– Oh my Lord, we can finally play our beloved game in our own country, says Andreas Andersen, student and avid poker player.

– About time though. In a world where you can marry a tree, we should most definitely be allowed to play poker in a competitive way, he continues.

No pain, no gain
One needs quite a bit of money to participate in the championship. The buy-in for each of the five regional tournaments is 1,500 NOK, and these events act as satellites to the national event in Oslo. Anyone who makes it to Oslo must dig even deeper in his or her wallet. The final round will feature three scheduled tournaments, highlighted by the 5,000 NOK buy-in main event.

Lives at stake
Such big event with a lot of money involved is an interesting opportunity to raise attention for charity. The Norwegian Blodkreftforeningen, or the Leukemia Foundation, are the official charity partner of the poker championship. Five percent of all stakes will be donated to the cause, which specializes in leukemia and bone marrow research.