Adalsteinn Karlsson and a New Poker Force Rises in the Far North

The true war lies to the North.

Poker is illegal in Iceland -- at least when it comes to cash games.

There are also no casinos. But there are card clubs. And poker tournaments do happen.

As you might guess, there aren't many Icelandic players on the international poker circuit. But that's clearly not an indicator of the local talent.

Adalsteinn Karlsson just made his second live final table in his second UKIPT event.

At his first UKIPT in Edinburgh last November him and a couple of Icelandic friends played and three out of four made the final table, finishing in sixth, third (Karlsson) and second place.

At the same UKIPT all four Icelanders made the final table of the turbo deepstack tournament. At the just completed UKIPT Dublin mian event, Karlsson finished fourth and cashed for over €56k, making this by far his best live result yet.

There might be a hidden treasure in the far North that we haven’t paid enough attention to. National legislation is currently of the opinion that cash games are gambling while tournaments are not.

2 out of 2 is solid.

One thing is for sure, though: interest in poker is massive in Iceland.

“The problem is that politicians don’t have a clue of what they’re talking about when it comes to poker," Karlsson told PokerListings in Dublin this week.

“And neither do the people in the media. I remember an article in the local press where someone just picked part of an interview I’d given and smashed it together with a bit of a PokerStars blog piece, turning it into an article that was just completely wrong.”

A New Force to Be Reckoned With

The 2015 National Poker Championship in Iceland had 250 players, which might sound small but in relation to the population it's substantial.

If it was the German Championship, that would be equal to a tournament field of 62,000 players.

“There are a lot more players in Iceland than played in the Icelandic Championship," says Karlsson.

He’s lived in Thailand on and off for the last four years but is now relocated back to Iceland. Nobody knows if online poker in Iceland is actually legal or not, but nobody bothers finding out so Karlsson says he can pursue his favorite hobby from home again.

That’s right, poker is just a hobby for the man who made his second final-table appearance at his second UKIPT; his real job is working as a freelance counsellor for a Web Hosting company.

Two out of two is quite an ROI. So is Iceland the new force to be reckoned with?

“Definitely yes," he says with a big smile on his face. Watch Karlsson fill in the details about poker in Iceland in the video below:

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