Poker Hall of Fame profile: ‘The Great Dane,’ Gus Hansen

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: December 9, 2020 9:00 pm EST

Gus Hansen isn’t receiving much attention as a potential 2020 Poker Hall of Fame candidate. And there’s good reason for that: he’s arguably the worst online poker player ever. But the charismatic iconic player presents an intriguing case for why he is, at the very least, deserving of consideration.

When discussing Hansen as a poker player, you simply can’t leave out his online poker failures. He lost over $20 million during the Full Tilt Poker days. That’s the biggest loss in history.

As a live pro, he appeared numerous times during the poker boom era on Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker. Those shows were must-see TV when “The Great Dane” appeared. Viewers knew the action at the table was going to be intense.

That’s sort of where Gus Hansen went wrong with his poker career in the earlier part of this century. He was known as a loose player who wasn’t afraid to gamble. At times, when he had a big hand, he benefited from that table reputation. And he was so unpredictable that it was often difficult for his opponent’s to put him on a hand.

But that loose-aggressive nature was also his downfall and why he lost so much money online. Still, he at least belongs in the conversation for the Poker Hall of Fame for other reasons.

Why Gus Hansen is an intriguing Poker HOF option

Gus Hansen became eligible for the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014 when he turned 40, but he’s never received much consideration from the public. In fact, his name rarely appears on any short lists when voting time comes around each year.

With that said, he could be a sleeper pick based on his impact on the game and his live tournament accomplishments. During the height of the poker boom era, Gus was always one of the most beloved players on the televised shows. He made the games exciting with his wild style of play, and that brought in viewers.

Hansen, the first ever World Poker Tour champion, doesn’t get much respect as a player because he’s known to have lost so much online. But many forget the big wins he’s had as a live tournament pro.

From 2002-2008, he was arguably the most dominant performer on the World Poker Tour. He is one of just six players with three or more WPT titles (Darren Elias leads with four), and he ranks eighth all-time in WPT earnings ($4,086,827).

Hansen won his three titles from 2002 to 2004 in the L.A. Poker Classic, Caribbean Poker Adventure, and Five Diamond World Poker Classic. He also finished 2nd at the 2008 WPT World Championship for $1,714,810.

The Danish poker pro had great success in the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, one of the most prestigious poker events in the world. He won it in 2002, the first ever World Poker Tour event, for $581,480. Nine months later, he shipped the L.A. Poker Classic for another $507,190. And then for good measure, less than a year later he took down the Caribbean Poker Adventure for $455,780.

Outside of the WPT, he’s racked up nearly $6 million in additional live tournament cashes. That includes a memorable 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event win for $1,192,919.

Although Gus Hansen isn’t your conventional Poker Hall of Fame candidate, he does present an interesting case for consideration.

Featured image source: Flickr