Everest Poker analyzes nationality in poker

Johan Storakers
Does this look like the face of a typical aggressive Swedish player?

Where you're from says a lot about how you play the game, or so Everest Poker has found after observing the European players in its online poker room tournaments as well as at live events.

Everest Poker European event coordinators have spent the past six months observing the characteristics of each nationality during poker tournaments, both live and online, to see what, if any, national characteristics would surface in the way people from certain countries play the game.

What the poker site found is that a player's nationality can have a profound effect on their style of play.

Based on their observations, Swedish players tend to be very aggressive and enjoy taking risks.

"Sweden was one of the first countries where the online poker boom really took off, so they have had a head start," said Robert Dahlstrom, Everest Poker's Swedish event coordinator. "You often hear Swedish players comment how poorly many of the players from Southern Europe play the game."

Dahlstrom said while Swedish players still enjoy a well-deserved respect on the continent, the gap is beginning to close and there is an increasing danger of complacency.

Taking a look further south on the continent, Spanish players seem to be catching on fast to a game that is fairly new to them.

Paloma Benito, Everest Poker's Spanish event coordinator, said that many Spanish poker players come from a chess background, and their analytical skills are very strong.

"This is not what other nations expect from the Spanish, and as a result, Spain is quickly becoming one of the stronger poker playing nations in Europe," Benito said.

Poker is also relatively new to Germany, but players there often play above their skill level to gain valuable experience, according to Everest Poker's German Event Coordinator Olaf Schimpf.

"Thousands of poker books have been sold [in Germany] in 2007, and they take their learning very seriously," he said. "German players often prefer to play against the professionals, knowing they will lose some money, in order to gain experience."

In the Netherlands, players have the reputation of taking the game pretty seriously as well.

"The Dutch have the reputation, perhaps surprisingly, of being particularly emotionless and cautious," said Mariken Hogenhout, Everest Poker's Dutch event coordinator. "Many Dutch players are young, highly educated and take the game very seriously, preferring the science behind the game to the cash."

In the United Kingdom, players have a more conservative reputation when it comes to the game.

"Like the national stereotype, players from the U.K. are reserved and cautious, especially early on, and take their time to get into a game," said Ed Pownall, Everest Poker European PR manager. "While this can be a good tactic, if there are particularly aggressive players, the lack of risk-taking can cost the Brits in tournament play."

In contrast to the analytical players of Germany and the Netherlands, and the conservative play of the Brits, are the passionate French players.

According to Everest Poker's French Event Coordinator Julien Brecard, the French style is to play with flair and passion.

"Many of the new generation of French poker players have also come across from the fantasy card game, Magic: The Gathering, where understanding the odds of certain cards is important," Brecard said.

Similar to the French, Italian players have a more loose style to their game. Marco Trucco, Everest Poker's Italy event coordinator, said Italian players tend to be impulsive and unpredictable. They have a tendency to be loose and bluff often, which comes from playing Italian five-card draw.

"Italian players love the action, rate super-aggressive players and play to win big," Trucco said.

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