Norwegian NobilityThe Norwegian FHM/Purple Lounge Poker Tour made its five-week rounds of Norway late this summer and it all culminated on September 22 at the Kamikaze Club in central Oslo. Ten cities hosted live poker action with players who qualified through online freeroll tournaments in June. From Bergen to Stavanger, the top three winners in each city earned their way to the main event here in seasonably warm Oslo. But what was really heating up the place was all the stunning FHM girls, led by the sensuous Aylar, at the dealer posts keeping the players focused and the spectators speechless. The Scandinavian sirens completed a crash course in the ‘croupier sciences’ in the summer just before the tour hit the road. And by the main event, they were handling the decks like seasoned WSOP veterans.
Most players who made it to the main event were Norwegian with a smattering of Swedes, Englishmen and one lucky American. As this wasn’t a cash tournament, players were able to relax and enjoy the very spirited, party-like atmosphere. But make no mistake—the stakes were high enough as they were all vying for an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Las Vegas and about £600 spending cash. But the nightclub feel was unavoidable with electric filaments flickering in chandeliers, a comically oversized disco ball scattering light and background dance music urging the party to start.
Five tables dropped to four in a matter of minutes and the more experienced swiftly dispatched some of the first-timers. Tournament director Glen Francis was extremely pleased that things were running like clockwork.
Leif-Harald Nesheim, a gaming equipment supplier, went out on the river before the final table took shape. The lizard-eye contact lenses he wore—a one-up on Greg Raymer’s reptilian shades—didn’t see the 9 on the turn coming. “I had a lot of fun,” he says. “It was a great road trip.”
When the final table was set, the spotlights above drew beads of sweat from some of the players. And the dealers rotated: Aylar for Tina. Then Purple Lounge’s Simon Trumper, the UK’s poker ambassador, was the first casualty, and the five weeks of traveling around Norway with the FHM girls came to a close. “It’s all about shorthand play,” he said afterward. “You’ve got to be aggressive.”
A handful of hands later, the field was whittled down to two after Casey Robbins of Chicago bowed out. Henning Brumoen and Frode Helland duked it out for the grand prize and after the 18th hand of the final table was dealt, Brumoen rose triumphantly. But in a strange amalgam of irony and camaraderie, Brumoen will share the grand prize with Helland, and the two will take Las Vegas by storm. And the icing on the cake: Brumoen just turned 21, so he’ll be able to celebrate with a long-awaited toast.