Let’s play a numbers game. With a population of approximately 10 million people, Sweden has six to seven poker runs a year. Roughly the same geographic size as the Scandinavian country but with four times the population, California has two poker runs a year. About one-third the geographic size of Sweden but with double the population, Florida has six to eight poker runs a year.
Deep in the heart of Sweden, the poker running is a joyful as it gets.
So why would a reporter from Northern California go to Sweden to check out the poker run scene and attend a couple of events? A better question is: Why wouldn’t he?
The he, of course, is me and until Helmich Hillen, a Netherlands-based owner of a 27-foot Checkmate sportboat and an avowed poker run fanatic, reached out I didn’t know anything about Sweden’s vibrant poker-run scene, much less would have considered a 10-day trip in the middle of August to experience it. So in no small way I have Hillen to thank for this story.
Allow me to tell it to you.