Sweden - Gambling since 1020!
There is a legend in Sweden that in 1020 the King of Sweden and the King of Norway (who were both called Olaf) decided to solve their differences over a disputed territory in Scandinavia called Hising by rolling a pair of dice - they thought this method would be a lot quicker, cheaper and a lot less messy than going to war. The King of Sweden must have been happy with his roll - a pair of sixes, but then somehow the King of Norway managed to roll a six and a seven, although what kind of dice had a seven is a little bit confusing. What's even more confusing is that the King of Sweden won Hising with his roll, even though he scored less. Doubles must have counted double, or something.
Online Poker in Sweden is highly regulated - not because the Swedish authorities have a dislike of gambling, but because any winnings from gambling activities in Sweden are subject to tax, and the Swedish tax authority are always very keen to suck out every last ore (the Swedish equivalent of a cent or penny) from their citizens. Late in 2012 the Swedish tax-men sent letters out to several leading Swedish online poker pros demanding to see bank statements outlining payments to and from such leading poker sites as PokerStars, Absolute Poker, Bodog and Full Tilt Poker. Some players even had their homes raided, and their mobile phones and PCs confiscated.
If you're a Sweden-based poker player and you're willing to risk the wrath of the Skattteverket (Sweden's tax authority) then here is a list of some of the best poker rooms you might care to play at:
William Hill Poker
Full Flush Poker
No doubt those fiendish Swedish tax-men are happy that several Swedish poker players have made it into the list of the top poker money-earners, and indeed Sweden ranks ninth in the all-time list of poker-money earners by country, behind the USA, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Italy and Russia. The most successful Swedish poker players are Martin Jacobson, Martin de Knilff and Chris Bjorin. Jacobson's career earnings from poker are now close to $5million, and he has several first-place finishes to his name, including the 2013 No Limit Hold'em event at the London event of the European Poker Tour which netted him a tasty $126,000. De Knilff has been playing tournament poker since 2002 but really burst onto the scene in 2004 when he won the main event at the $25,000 WPT No Limit Hold'em Championship in Las Vegas. His prize for winning all those lovely chips? A staggering $2.73million! Bjorin is one of the longest-serving poker players in the world, and although he has yet to win a major title, his career-earnings are thought to be well in excess of $5.5million.
So, if you're a Sweden-based poker player and fancy earning a bit of extra pocket money, or perhaps a few million krona, then take a look at some of the poker rooms I've listed above. The ancient King of Sweden and those money-grabbing Swedish tax-men will surely approve!