Stromstad, Sweden, was the scene of a robbery that took place in the early AM on Friday, August 22nd. A private poker game that had around 15 poker players were robbed and most of the players were from Norway.
The Hogdal Bygdegård farm was hosting the game when four men wearing masks and armed with guns forced their way in. The players were forced to the floor and the robbery continued from that point.
The Norwegian police are involved in the hunt for the robbers that are apparently on the run — no arrests have been made at this point — and border control is also involved in taking charge of the robbers if they attempt to venture out of the country.
A statement from the Swedish Police to Scandinavian residents says this type of robbery is targeted for "easy money."
The head of the Strömstad police investigation, Tore Lomgård, spoke with a Swedish newspaper Bohusläningen, "It is quite obvious that the criminals knew the poker game was playing for money and they planned to rob it."
Unfortunately for poker players in Norway, real-money poker is illegal at this time. Even the Norwegian Poker Championship is held outside of Norway — and has been for quite some time — in Dublin, Ireland the last few years. The choices for Norwegian players are few, they can play in underground games in Norway and face the penalty if they are caught or head for a country nearby that allows them to play legally.
Sweden picks up many Norwegian poker players that travel to legal private games...the games are safe from a police raid but very lucrative for a robbery because everyone knows that poker players carry large sums of money when they travel.
It's possible that home poker games, small poker tournaments, and the Norwegian Poker Championship will take place inside the country due to Norway's Ministry of Culture issuing a recommendation a few months back.
If home games are allowed by the regulatory group, the games would have the following restrictions:
- A cap on the buy-in of 500 Norwegian Kroner (approx. $81).
- Up to 10 players.
This may seem like a very small start but it is a start and would allow a certain amount of safety for Norwegian home game players. High-stakes Norwegian players will obviously travel to a game where they can get substantial action on their play and money.
Image courtesy of th01.deviantart.net