By Oddvar Pettersen
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His palms are sweaty and his heart is racing, but he smiles when he sees his cards.
"I can't lose this one", he says, with a big grin on his face.
Poker in cyberspace is perfect for anyone not having a poker face.
Johan Eriksson shows me his hand. A full house, queens full of jacks. There are 260 dollars in the pot. Jack from Ohio just folded his hand, but Hans from Norway and Steven from Australia both called Johan's 20 dollar bet.
He shows me his hand again. "Can't lose this one", he says for the second time. A click on the mouse and Johan is 320 dollar richer. He was correct , he couldn't lose that one.
We are neither in Las Vegas or in Atlantic City , but in a small one bedroom apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The battle is fought on the internet, where cyberspace is lightening up Johan's computer screen.
The online poker room is called Poker Stars, the server is in Costa Rica somewhere, and the players are from all over the world.
When poker online started at the end of the nineties, it created mixed feelings amongst real time casino poker players.
Some took the view that it would damage real poker games in casinos by tempting regular customers to only play poker online.
Others were fascinated that they could remain at home and play poker (in the underwear) against real people from the whole world.
Online poker was as sent from heaven for those who felt uncomfortable in a casino poker room or had a hard time finding a poker room near to home.
"You have to be careful", Johan says, in the middle of a new hand. "Internet poker is twice as fast as live poker, so the money comes and goes just as quickly".
"Damn, he caught an Ace on the river", Johann shouts. "Lost 30 bucks on that hand. Well, well, easy come, easy go"
Johan started off playing poker at high school, but unlike most of us, didn't quit playing this great game.
He has since the high school days dreamt of watching the "big boys" play, so he bought himself a plane ticket to Las Vegas at the tender age of 21. In Las Vegas he discovered the poker game of Texas Holdem.
He introduced the game to his poker buddies in Danemark, and the game of Five Card Draw was dead and buried for ever.
Johan just returned from his seventh trip to The Sin City. "It's the same routine every time", he says. Straight in to the Hotel Mirage, dumping off the suitcases, and heading straight to the poker room.
He never gambles in the casino. Just plays true poker, and spends the majority of his vacation time playing tournament poker . To him, this is the best holiday any unmarried guy can have.
His goal every time is to win the equivalent of airplane and hotel costs. He has managed that the last four times, but haven't won a big tournament yet.
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