A couple of days ago, professional poker player Ola ‘Odd_Oddsen’ Amundsgard issued an open challenge to all Norwegian politicians. The rules were straightforward as the challengers were not expected to bring any money to the table, but if they finished above the profitability line after playing 10,000 hands, they would collect 1 million Norwegian Kr.
Even though the equivalent of $170,000 was alluring, a single politician took on Amundsgard’s heads-up challenge which was scheduled to begin on Saturday, December 7. All the details about the challenge and the reasons for why the poker professional chose to put his money on the line with nothing to gain, are available here.
Erlend Wiborg acknowledged his underdog status as he was the only politician who agreed that a game of poker has less to do with luck and more with skill. Nevertheless, the Norwegian parliament member and “Odd_Oddsen” started playing at 11am and 1056 hands later, Erlend gave up. By that time he was already 2666 blinds behind and lost 26% of his starting chips, which meant that he was fighting an uphill battle.
Poker pros regarded the “Millionduellen” challenge as a competition with an inevitable and, therefore were not surprised when the politician threw in the towel. The entire challenge was broadcasted live so those interested could see how it unfolded and not surprising, the professional was in complete control from the very beginning. He played fairly conservative poker and waited for his opponent to commit mistakes, to take down big pots and that’s exactly what happened throughout the session.
The Norwegian politician did his very best to win and the fact that he committed a significant portion of his time to play against the pro proves his resolve. In an interview given after the challenge concluded, he told the media that the experience was exciting but exhausting and that he needs some time to recharge his batteries. As for the poker professional, he was thrilled with the outcome and he praised his opponent for the effort, but said that the million was never in danger.
Both players agree that the purpose of the challenge was reached, because with the better player crushing his opponent they prove that poker relies more on skill and less on chance. The politician showed a lot of sportsmanship by accepting his limitations and claiming that his chances of beating Amundsgard’s at poker were the same as winning against the world champion Magnus Carlsen in a game of chess.