Gus Hansen recently told PokerNews that he plans to make a comeback to the poker world in 2017. While the poker community will love to see the Great Dane return to the game, the question remains as to which Gus Hansen we will see next year.
Will we see the Gus Hansen whose crazy style of play dominated live tournaments during the early years of the Poker Boom or will we see the Hansen that may have ruined a Hall of Fame career by dropping over $22 million in high stakes online poker games?
It's been two years since Gus Hansen last played a poker tournament, but a few events are on his radar https://t.co/gglWv5p9wZ— PokerNews (@PokerNews) November 10, 2016
Gus Hansen Was a Force in the Live Arena
While Hansen didn’t play the same schedule of events as other pros, he was constantly in the mix whenever he did play. If you check out his Hendon Mob profile, you’ll see he has over $10.25 million in career earnings with 18 first place finishes.
While a number of them are invitational event wins, he still has a slew of impressive open-field victories. First, he has three World Poker Tour titles. That puts him into a four-way tie with Chino Rheem, Anthony Zinno and Carlos Mortensen on the all-time WPT titles list.
Next, let’s not forget that Hansen took down the High Roller Heads-Up title at the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe. This has personal significance to me since about a month or so prior, I wrote a piece for another site stating that Hansen should consider walking away from the game due an extended losing streak that appeared to have no end in sight.
Of course, we cannot overlook his 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event victory, the event that resulted in Hansen’s “Every Hand Revealed” book. He also took down the FullTiltPoker.com Poker Million IX in 2010.
Hansen has four seven-figure scores in his live career along with 14 six-figure scores. I think that most anyone that watched him play can agree that he was a major force in the live arena. We aren’t even considering his cash game exploits. Hansen was considered one of the most dangerous high stakes live cash game players.
The online game turned out to be another matter.
Hansen is #1 All-Time Online – But In the Wrong Direction
In his early years on Full Tilt Poker, Gus Hansen was the player that everyone liked to see show up in high stakes action because they knew the chips would be flying. Looking at his graph High Stakes DB from 2007 through 2009, Hansen definitely was enjoying roller coaster swings that typically trended on the negative side.
In late 2008 through mid-2009, Hansen started trending upward and actually was up nearly $2 million. However, starting in April 2009, he started on a downward trend that permanently left him in the red.
Hansen has been profitable in online poker since June 2009. From that time until October 2010, he went on a downward spiral that saw him bottom out with $10.47 million in losses.
Hansen then went on the biggest heater of his online poker life. From late October 2010 to March 2011, Hansen won $8 million. He was still down $2.47 million lifetime but it seemed that Hansen had finally found the formula to win at online poker.
Then Black Friday hit and Hansen left the game until late 2012. Sadly, that time off killed his momentum and when he returned, he was unable to win with the exception of a brief stint over on PokerStars. From July to August 2012, Hansen managed to run up just over $400k in cash game earnings but in a two month span he dropped nearly $1.5 million. He quit playing on PokerStars until late 2014.
Hansen continued to play on Full Tilt but his sessions were often an exercise in futility. By the end of 2012, he was down $6.4 million. By the end of 2013, he was down over $14.8 million. By the end of 2014, Hansen had dropped a staggering $20.65 million online.
He played a little in early 2015 before finally quitting Full Tilt down $20,737,007. He switched over to PokerStars and played sporadically until June before quitting down $1.38 million.
Between the two sites, Gus Hansen dropped over $22 million by early 2015. Hansen decided to come back to PokerStars earlier this year and played for a brief stint back in August. He started out winning just over $5,000 before losing it all back and dropping an addition $7,498.
Did His PokerNews Interview Give Insight to His Future?
Like most of you, I read Hansen’s interview with PokerNews to see if I could get a glimpse into what to expect from him when he returns. From his interview, I gleaned two things.
First, I think we will see a bit more from Hansen in the live tournament arena. Perhaps he has someone backing him or maybe he has decided that tournaments are going to be his best bet to rise back to relevance in the modern game.
Looking at his past track record, it would make sense for him to make a comeback attempt with tournament rather than cash games. Knowing the modern state of tournament play, Hansen could still prove relevant. It will be interesting to see if he plays in many high roller tournaments and how his skills match up against the current group that regulars those events.
Next, I don’t expect him to turn things around online in any meaningful way. His attitude towards the game, based on his interview, doesn’t speak to me that he has changed his game or his approach enough to be competitive. He spoke more about gambling and competing than he did about improving his poker game. His words didn’t sound like a poker player that had learned from their mistakes and wanted to try and change their legacy.
As such, that is why I feel that Hansen will return as more of a live tournament player and live cash game player over an online high stakes pro. I would not be shocked if his online play was minimal or if he even shifted to tournaments.
If Hansen were to prove that he still has the ability to win in live tournaments, he might be a good pick for PokerStars to sign as a Team Pro but have him focus on tournaments or prop for their lower stake games against players that want to compete against the Great Dane.