Jonas “Liqqa” Gjelstad, leaving school early and moving to Thailand to become a professional poker player | 10 People Who Got Rich from Poker

The world of poker can change your life forever, and Jonas Gjelstad understood that. Jonas or “Liqqa”, as he is more commonly known as in poker circles, is a Norwegian professional poker player and sports bettor. Before getting into sports betting and creating Trademate sports, Jonas was a professional poker player.


At 18 years of age, Jonas had to make an important decision concerning his future career. He was uninterested by school, attending a small percentage of classes, so he knew that he had to make a change if he wanted to become successful.

So, he decided to leave high school science classes to focus on poker. He also wanted to live this experience abroad. With some other poker players, he found the perfect destination. After considering Malta and South America, they decided on Phuket in Thailand.

The fact that it is a cheap place with lots of tourists, convinced these poker players to give it a try. Life over there was more than comfortable, they used to stay in a villa where a cleaner would serve them for 6 days a week.

Everything was going in the right direction for “Liqqa” in the trendy city of Phuket. However he was annoyed by the bargaining part of Thailand, where the local community considered him as a tourist and charged him more for daily purchases.

Through this experience, he had the chance to travel across Asia to play poker: Bali, Singapore among others.

This Thai adventure proved to his parents that he made the right choice. At first, his mother was unhappy and nervous about his intentions to pursue a professional poker career.

But, she finally gave in, even though she did not like this idea. The fact that his family was not convinced by this career move, allowed Jonas to show them that they were wrong:

“When people tell you, you are doing the wrong thing, there is nothing better than proving them they are wrong,”claimed Jonas during an interview with Trademate Sports.


Although he was independent and knew how to manage his life in Phuket, he was not comfortable speaking with other people. But looking back on this experience he did not regret his choice at all, saying:

“I travelled the world, seen what it had to offer, discovered different cultures and met interesting people; which I would not have been able to meet if I had stuck to my comfort zone in Norway.”

He was more motivated than ever to succeed on the Asian continent. He was working a lot and learning new stuff about poker on a daily basis. After spending 8 months in Thailand, Jonas had made $150,000 playing poker, which is just insane, considering students of the same generation are studying and working part-time jobs to pay off their loans.


He eventually decided to leave Phuket and come back to his hometown located in Norway. But he became bored very quickly and decided to fly to London with a friend. He moved to the English capital, to focus on sports betting.

This English experience became the trigger that brought him to sports betting, which is not surprising considering the enthusiasm around football in the U.K.

From there, he went on to create Edgebet, more commonly known nowadays as Trademate Sports. He decided to put aside his poker career to devote 100% of his time to sports betting and his business:

“When we launched Edgebet, I had to give up poker for a period of time, because it was just too much work with this and also learning and improving sports betting. […] I can only focus on one thing.”

From Thailand to London, Jonas’ poker career has been successful with total live earnings of $499,342 and online earnings of over $200,000, which puts him 35th in Norway’s All Time Money List. Liqqa’s best performance is undoubtedly his 3rd place in 2017 at the Caribbean Poker Party Festival, winning $450.000.

Poker has helped Jonas tremendously to become good at sports betting, making millions of dollars from value betting.

If you want to learn more about Jonas Gjelstad and his sports betting, click here.

Check out the other articles in our 10 People Who Got Rich from Poker series on:

  • Article 1: Daniel Negreanu, the most famous poker play of all time
  • Article 2: Phil Ivey cheated his way to a $10 million win
  • Article 3: Phil “POKER BRAT” Hellmuth, the biggest trash talker in poker
  • Article 4: Fedor Holz, a multimillionaire by 23
  • Article 5: Patrik Antonius, winning the biggest ever online pot & nearly becoming a tennis pro
  • Article 6: Gus Hansen, the great Dane who went on a $20.7M losing streak!
  • Article 7: Doug Polk, a poker pensioner at 31 who now plays warcraft full-time
  • Article 8: Chris Ferguson, the Jesus of Poker who turned full antichrist
  • Article 9: Justin Bonomo, the Romeo with many Juliets
  • Article 10: Mike Matusow, former prisoner and Trump-worshipping poker legend
  • Article 11: Viktor Blom, a.k.a. ILSIDUR1, the record holder for the biggest loss in online poker history
  • Article 12: Bryn Kenney, the richest man in poker

Get The Best Articles and News To Your Inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.