Last week, Oslo-born Felix Stephensen won the first-ever Norwegian Poker Championship Main Event. It was the first time the event was legally held on home soil, and Stephensen won it for 1,405,150 NOK ($162,497).
The event was held at the Thon Hotel in the Oslo suburb of Gardermoen, where a record-breaking 1,973 players ponied up the 5,000 NOK ($580) buy-in in hopes to claim the title and be part of history. This represents a 55-percent increase from the 1,274 entrants in last year's Main Event that was held in Dublin, Ireland, due to gaming restrictions in Norway.
In addition to Ireland, previous years of the Norwegian Poker Championships have been held in Sweden, Latvia, and England. The event was able to be brought back home due to a change in gambling laws prompted by a recommendation last year by the country's Ministry of Culture.
The excitement surrounding the event was unprecedented, as it not only broke records by generating a prize pool of over $1 million, but also became the most viewed poker event ever in the country on television with over 100,000 people watching the 60 hours of programming on the local TV 2 Sport pay-TV channel.
While Stephensen will be remembered for his win in this event, he will likely always be better known as the runner-up of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event when he scored $5,147,911 for finishing second to Martin Jacobson.
With the win in the Norwegian Poker Championships Main Event, Stephensen now has over $5.5 million in career live poker winnings. According to The Hendon Mob, this puts him far ahead of other famous poker players in his country, including Annette Obrestad ($3,920,796), Thor Hansen ($2,921,856), and Johnny Lodden ($2,605,381).
Stephensen, who now calls London, England, his home, entered the final table second in chips. He was able to run his stack up and make it to heads-up play against Silje Nilsen. Nilsen, who entered the heads-up battle with the chip lead, saw it evaporate after losing a big hand when her was unable to improve against Stephensen's .
A few hands later, Stephensen sealed the deal and Nilsen exited the tournament, banking 773,510 NOK ($89,452), when her lost to Stephensen's — a spiked the board.
Here is a look at the final table results of the 2015 Norwegian Poker Championships Main Event:
|Place||Player||Prize (NOK)||Prize (USD)|
|5||Jens Petter Johansen||318,970||$36,887|
|8||Simon Other Solberg||138,930||$16,066|