After 1,000 hands, Wiborg is down by 26 buy-ins
About a month ago, Ola “Odd Oddsen” Amundsrud challenged Norwegian politicians to a $170,000 freeroll in order to prove that poker is a game of skill not a gambling game, and should not be banned in the country. Erlend Wiborg accepted the challenge to play 10,000 hands of Pot-Limit Omaha against the high stakes poker pro, who will give the politician $170,000 if Wiborg will be ahead once the hands were played. The politician stated that he would donate the money if he would win.
The heads-up battle quickly spread throughout the poker industry as a great way to show that poker is not a game of luck and that having experience and skill can bring in the big pots.
Amundsrud convincingly wins first session
The two played their first session on Saturday and after 1,000 hands, Amundsrud was ahead by 26 buy-ins. The stakes were $0.50/$1, with a buy-in of $100, and it didn’t take long for the poker pro to have the politician dominated.
When the session was over, Wiborg threw in the towel, forfeiting the chance to come back and win $170,000. The entire battle would have taken months to complete given the busy schedule of both players but the clear advantage that Odd Oddsen brought to the table was enough to drive his point home.
Since both Wiborg and his party are in favor of legalizing online poker in the country, some were skeptical about his incentive to win. Since he would donate the money, it would be enough for the politician to lose and say that it is a game of skill and should be legalized. However, it is highly unlikely that the politician threw the game on purpose and he actually stated that it would be a great opportunity for him to learn how to play better.
On top of that, if it would be the case, it would be far worse for him to lose in order to make poker not seem like a gambling game than actually getting very lucky and winning the match. Of course, it would have been better if a politician opposing online poker legalization would take him up on the challenge, but that was not very likely to happen.
The difference in skill was very obvious as the two played their first and only match and it was clear that luck would have little to do with it. This is something that cannot be said about gambling games, such as slots or roulette, and it remains to be seen if this will be enough to change the perception regarding online poker in Norway, and also in other parts of the world.