Score one for Swedes at 2009 WSOP

Tomas Alenius
The Tre Kroner would be proud.

Tomas Alenius wrote his way into the poker history books at the 2009 WSOP yesterday, becoming just the fourth Swedish player to win a bracelet.

The Uppsala resident outlasted 643 players and a tough final table that included Rep Porter to win Event 26, $1,500 Limit Hold'em, and record his fifth career WSOP cash.

"It's very nice actually," said Alenius, at his bracelet ceremony the next day. "There are a lot of players out there that want to win a bracelet, and I'm both happy and proud that I was able to do it."

Alenius joins Mats Rahmn, Chris Bjorin and Anders Henriksson as the only Swedish players to ever win a WSOP gold bracelet, but both Alenius and close friend William Thorson downplayed the significance.

"It was important for him personally to win a bracelet," said Thorson. "I think he's one of the few Swedish players who is actually capable of winning at the WSOP."

Alenius has been playing poker for roughly seven years, working as a dealer before he became a full-time pro. Thorson and Alenius met at the tables several years ago and have been close friends since.

The Team PokerStars Pro said he had an immense amount of respect for Alenius' skills as a poker player.

"He's a very good player," said Thorson. "He's pretty tight, but he can also mix it up. He can play most of the games, but he's best at Hold'em.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that he won a bracelet. I'm happy for him."

Despite its reputation for producing skilled poker players like Thorson, Erik Friberg and Bjorin, Sweden is currently in 10th place, with $278,000, in the overall breakdown of 2009 WSOP winnings by country.

Italy, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands all rank higher. Russia is second so far with $2.2 million, although the bulk of that ($1.9 million) came from Vitaly Lunkin's win in the $40k No-Limit Hold'em anniversary event.

The U.S. is the overwhelming leader with nearly $40 million already awarded to players from the States.

Fortunately for Sweden, there are some talented young players waiting in the wings for their shot at WSOP glory. Alenius mentioned several players that had the potential to be successful tournament players.

"I like William (Thorson) of course," he said. "A lot of the young guys in Stockholm are really good as well.

"Jonas Molander, Michael Tureniec, Ramzi Jelassi and Patrik Martenson are all super good in my opinion."

The last Swedish player before Alenius to win a bracelet was Anders Henriksson in 2006. Henriksson won a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event for $202,291.

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