Gus Hansen in Vegas to “Do Some Damage” at WPT World Championship
It had been a while, but Gus Hansen was back at a World Poker Tour event and happy to be there. At Friday’s WPT Premier Meet-Up Game at the Wynn poker room in Las Vegas, The Great Dane flew in as a last-minute surprise superstar guest, arriving alongside his longtime friend, WPT Ambassador Phil Ivey marking the first time anyone had seen Hansen at a WPT stop in some time.
Charming and accessible, Hansen was quick to pose for photos with fans and sign copies of his book Every Hand Revealed. He was also more than happy to talk a little poker and take a stroll down memory lane including where poker fits into his life right now.
That’s a good question. I’m actually trying to figure that out myself, Hansen said. I have a three-year-old son…just turned three a month agoand for that reason, I’m living back in Denmark where I’m originally from. So I’m kind of figuring how much travel a year I want to do. I know for sure that the summer in Vegas is going to be one of my stops.
My affiliation with World Poker Tour, just from being there early on and throughout 20 years or something like that. Obviously, this was a good spot to come to Vegas and join in with the World Poker Tour and hopefully do some damage in the (world) Championship Event. So I am probably looking at traveling three months a year. That’s kind of my live schedule. And then maybe play a little bit online when I’m home.
Its been 15 years since Hansen last cashed in a World Poker Tour event. It was the 2008 WPT World Championship and by that time he was already one of the biggest names in the game, a three-time WPT champion, and the first player to have his name inscribed on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
In that time, sure, Hansens played tournaments – in fact, hes accumulated just over $10 million in live tournament cashes. But one look at his Hendon Mob shows that his true love in poker has been high-stakes cash games with his last live MTT result coming back in 2019. But he says hes ready to fire in the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas and, just maybe, pick up another major tournament result.
I feel like tournaments are a little bit of a double-edged sword. You just hate – absolutely hate – when you get knocked out. And it’s great to be there on Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, but sometimes Day One is a little bit of a grind and you kind of just want to bag some chips and knock a lot of people out.
And obviously the final tables are always a lot of fun, but you chase that. But obviously with the field this year at the Wynn, it’s probably going to be like maybe 4,000 players. I mean, you need to play good poker and you need a lot of luck. So it’s hard to get down there. I mean, it was a lot easier back in 2003 with 200 runners, 300 runners, stuff like that. But I’m ready to give it a go here. I think it’s going to be a great December.
It was going to take something special to bring Hansen to Las Vegas in the middle of December and no small piece of that was the opportunity to connect with his friend Ivey both for the Meet-Up Game, and also to have a shot at what is likely to be a near $5 million first-place prize in the WPT World Championship. Talking about competition general, Hansen quickly praised the WPT ambassador while noting his desire to challenge himself.
Well, obviously that was a factor when I talked to WPT that Ivey, my longtime friend from poker is here. It is always a pleasure to play with him, he said. I mean, I really like to play against the good players, the top players, because they really test you. I mean, you have to play. So I mean, he’s definitely one of my friends and favorite to play against because when we’re at the table, I want to beat him.
Even at the Meet-Up Game, where the ambassadors, like Hansen, dont play nearly as hard at the $1/3 tables as they would at the stakes they normally play, Hansen found himself winning pots and sitting with a healthy stack. He likely cant help it. Its clear he loves the competition, he loves the gamesmanship. Aside from poker, Hansen is also known as a competitive backgammon and tennis player. Games and competition have framed a big part of Hansens life.
Im definitely somewhat of a degenerate gambler. Maybe not gambler, but a degenerate games player, he said. Yeah, I just love the competition. I love sports, whether it’s tennisnowadays, I play a lot of padel. Everything, competing in chess, bridge, backgammon, and poker…all of it.
I just really like it. And so that is a big part of my life.
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