Poker Mental Game & Planning

How to Play Lodden Thinks

3,526 Views 5 Comments on 6/12/17

Learn about the game played at poker tables that's named after Norway's own Johnny Lodden.

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Born in Jørpeland, Norway, Johnny Lodden is one of the few players that will forever be part of poker folklore, every reg poker player around the world has heard his name and played his game. 

This should be obvious to everyone reading this, but live poker is very different from online poker. In live settings, you are sitting down with another person for hours. Simple human nature would drive you to talk and to avoid any awkward silence, but sometimes you need an icebreaker, and that's Lodden Thinks.

Lodden Thinks is a very simple game that can live up a quiet table and even make you some money, but you may have some questions, such as:

  • How do you play it? 
  • Why is it named after Johnny Lodden? 
  • Do you need some kind of Norwegian Casino guide to understand it?
  • Where do I even find another dude named Lodden? 

All fair questions that we are ready to answer.

Lodden Thinks History - Two Degens and a Norwegian enter a Poker Tournament…

The year was 2008, Johnny Lodden was an online poker grinder that at that point had won over $560,000 in live tournament cashes. Riding a sweet tournament upswing, he decided to enter the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event

He was seated at the feature table alongside Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. The table was very slow so,  not ones to lose TV time, Laak offered Esfandiari one of their notorious prop bets, they would both bet on what Johnny Lodden thinks about random things. 

Right there and there, the prop bet became a game with a unique set of rules, and the three men played it until the table broke. 

Johnny was eventually eliminated in 11th place, walked home with cash but without the gold bracelet, but little did he know his name was about to be part of poker culture.   

"Lodden Thinks" was eventually broadcasted on ESPN, with its own segment documenting its creation and highlights of the first time it was played. 

It has since taken a life of its own, it doesn't matter where you are in the world, if you are at a poker table you will likely find someone who knows how to play Lodden Thinks.

Earlier this year, there were even rumors of a Lodden Thinks tournament in the PCA, no one had any idea how that would even work but people were pretty excited about it!

How to Play Lodden Thinks Like the Nords

Lodden Thinks is a game so simple that it's amazing nobody thought of it before, you just need at least three players and a question.

  • Determine who is the "Lodden", this person won't be able to take part in any betting action.
  • Ask a question to the Lodden.
  • The two players guess what the Lodden's opinion would be. 
  • Whoever's guess is the closest to what the Lodden was actually thinking, wins.  

It doesn't matter if the answer is factually correct or not, all that matters is what the Lodden thinks (get it?).

A Few Things to Consider

  • It can be played with or without betting, but good luck finding the non-gambling variety at a poker table. 
  • It's fairer if both players have the same kind of relationship with the Lodden. Whoever is closest to the Lodden has an unfair advantage. 
  • To maintain game integrity, it's better if the Lodden writes down their answer before the two players verbalize their guess. 
  • The questions need to be something simple, preferably something that can be answered with just one word or a number. 

Example of a good Lodden question:

How many times do you think Sean Connery played James Bond?"

Example of a bad Lodden Question:

What role do you think the EU should have in local farm legislation?"

There you have it, now you know how to play Lodden Thinks, one of those lighting in a bottle moments that could even outgrow its own poker roots.

Its namesake, Johnny Lodden, meanwhile remains Norway's favorite PokerStars pro and is still plays online poker.



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CycleVancouveron 11/12/17

100% he was levelling


fergrbergeron 11/12/17

No he got really defensive over it and ended up being pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. I’m 99% confident he was being deadly serious.


fergrbergeron 9/12/17

Fully agree questions with huge numbers are the best. Hilarious how much you can find out about people also. A question came up before of how many unique porn videos exist on the internet. A buddy of mine went with 6,000.....


CycleVancouveron 9/12/17

i do same as ferger, bidding game is way better. I'll also argue that depending on how fun/drunk everyone is, questions that can have massivly large answers are the best. Like, How high would the bidding go if the Taj Majal went up for auction? Or how much money would we have to pay Trump to dye his hair hot pink and be seen in public?


fergrbergeron 6/12/17

We play it as a bidding game, answer has to be numerical and one person goes first, second person can take the under on their number or can go in with a higher bid. The initial person can then go higher again or take the under. Great game!

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