With the shutdown in tournament poker due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many of the all-time money earner lists have also paused as there aren’t any new tournaments to add to the totals. Prior to this, we’ve covered the entirety of the Western Hemisphere, so it’s time to head to the “Old Continent” and the nations there. Up first, we’ll sweep through the nations that make up the northern rim of Europe and the nations that make up Scandinavia. Some of the names here might surprise you, especially in an “all-time” rankings sense.
No Greenland on the Board?
Surprisingly, the nation of Greenland does not rate mention on the board, either with the Western Hemisphere or in the European countdown. According to The Hendon Mob database, Greenland has never had a player cash in a poker tournament. A much smaller nation, Iceland, has had players on the international tournament circuit, so let’s start our look at Scandinavia there.
More than 100 Icelanders have hit on the international tournament poker circuit, led by a gentleman that has been silent in the game for over a decade. Back in 2008, Runar Runarsson was making his name with deep runs in tournaments in Paris and Copenhagen. Just as quickly as he came on the scene, however, Runarsson disappeared; he hasn’t had a cash since 2008 for reasons unknown.
His position atop the Icelandic all-time money leaders list is a tenuous one as Halldor Mar Sverrisson is moving up the ladder. In fact, should Sverrisson earn a big score, he could easily leap over Runarrson for the lead. Here’s the Top Five in Iceland’s poker history:
1. Runar Runarsson, $337,300
2. Halldor Mar Sverrisson, $100,945
3. Adalsteinn Karlsson, $100,559
4. Gardar Hauksson, $77,989
5. Anton Thorarinsson, $77,129
Denmark is a country that has two runners that have pulled a great distance away from the field and it will take some time for them to be caught. Former World Champion Peter Eastgate (surprise!) is the all-time money leader for the Danish people, barely eking out the edge over a player that many would have thought was atop the standings. The man known as “The Great Dane” himself, Gus Hansen, pulls into the second place slot and is a major score from taking back the lead from Eastgate.
On down the list are some players who had great success in the Aughts and a player who, while over $6 million behind Eastgate, may have the best chance at the top of the mountain – but it will take him some time! Here is your look at the Top Five players, ranked by the money they have won, in the history of Denmark poker:
1. Peter Eastgate, $11,131,450
2. Gus Hansen, $10,278,252
3. Frederik Jensen, $4,753,147
4. Henrik Hecklen, $3,963,150
5. Theo Jorgensen, $3,804,629
World Champions, Legends of the Game in Other Scandinavian Countries
In the three connected Scandinavian countries – Norway, Sweden and Finland – there are plenty of notable names that make up their Top Five lists. Legends of the game, former World Champions and players who are still viable today (and could make an impact on the rankings) make this an interesting area to look at as the history of tournament poker continues.
In Finland, there is an obvious choice as to who is the #1 player all-time. From his work in predominantly the Aughts, Patrik Antonius has seized hold of the top slot in the history of Finnish poker. But he is under siege from many active Finns, including a blast from the past who has shown he still is a part of the game today. Without further ado, here’s the Top Five for Finland as of this point in 2020:
1. Patrik Antonius, $12,013,265
2. Juha Helppi, $7,993,926
3. Joni Jouhkimainen, $3,926,041
4. Kimmo Matias Kurko, $3,131,261
5. Jani Sointula, $2,906,182
For Norway, a recently passed legend of the game still sits proudly amongst his countrymen (and a singular lady). While Felix Vincent Stephensen leads the way, the late Thor Hansen is still in the Top Five for all-time winnings by a Norwegian poker player. Other than Stephensen being the surprise leader, the other interesting appearance is by a player known more for the game that bears his name than the poker that he’s played!
Here’s the breakdown of the Top Five players in Norwegian poker history:
1. Felix Vincent Stephensen, $5,850,350
2. Annette Obrestad, $3,942,232
3. Thor Hansen, $2,948,644
4. Johnny Lodden, $2,835,282
5. Jan Olav Sjavik, $2,230,878
Sweden’s Top Five list is lopsided because of the feats of one player who became a World Champion. Martin Jacobson used his 2014 victory at the World Series of Poker Championship Event to make up the bulk of the $17 million-plus he’s won in his career. That puts him over one of the legends of the game who, in all honesty, should be a part of the Poker Hall of Fame. Here’s the Top Five list of the best Sweden has to offer:
1. Martin Jacobson, $17,040,135
2. Chris Bjorin, $5,760,113
3. Michael Tureniec, $5,183,745
4. Martin de Knijff, $3,875,472
5. Johan Storakers, $3,782,158
With Scandinavia now in our rear-view mirror, we’ll pick up the charts of European poker next with the northern countries – including the conglomerate of the United Kingdom – in our next segment. This might prove to be the most competitive set of countries outside of the U. S., so it will be intriguing to see how they shake out!