The Railbird Report: Gus Hansen Resurfaces Online, Is the Legend Back?
Gus Hansen announced his retirement from high stakes online poker last year, but August 22 and August 23 he made his way back to the online tables and played $150/$300 2-7 Triple Draw. Is this the long awaited return of the legend that is Gus Hansen? Time for a quick look at his history playing online.
Full Tilt Poker, the Home of High Stakes; Gus Hansen, the Crowd Pleaser
Full Tilt Poker was the undisputed home of high stakes. In fact, it was one of the pillars the site was built on; 'Learn, Chat and Play with the Pros' was their tagline in the beginning days. And it worked; Full Tilt Poker was where the action was and the high stakes tables were where the railbirds flocked.
As the site and the poker economy grew, higher tables got added to the client. At first, the $500/$1,000 tables were reserved for just Phil Ivey (remember Ivey's Thunderdome?) and anyone who dared to sit in was an instant celebrity among the fans. Later, public $500/$1,000 tables opened and action got underway on a semi-regular basis.
Hansen was one of the biggest attractions on the site, both for other professional players and railbirds. When Hansen sat down online, it meant things were about to go down. The three-time World Poker Tour champion even had his own live stream long before Twitch.tv even existed, streaming the biggest games on GusHansen.TV.
Hansen lost a staggering $20,737,007 on Full Tilt Poker where he was a Red Pro from the early days. He was the biggest winner of 2011, winning almost $4 million in the first five months, but that resurgence was short-lived.
FTP Collapses and Returns, Hansen Comes Back as Part of 'The Professionals'
When Full Tilt Poker collapsed, the golden days of poker were long gone. When the site resurfaced under the Amaya brand, the highest of tables were already gone. But still, Full Tilt Poker was where the biggest players hung out. While traffic was down overall, railbirds still updated the client to catch a glimpse of the biggest names in poker squaring off online. Hansen, together with Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom were hired to represent the brand as "The Professionals," an approach similar to the one that had worked so well in the beginning days.
It turned out the Full Tilt Poker brand was too tarnished and the site had been gone for too long. A different angle was needed. In October of 2014, the updated Full Tilt Poker client featured no images of Blom or Hansen (Dwan was fired a bit before that after a dispute between him and the company); The Professionals were no longer part of the plan for the new Full Tilt Poker.
While Hansen wasn't seen on Full Tilt Poker after that, that didn't mean his online poker adventure was halted. While Full Tilt Poker had been down after Black Friday, Hansen had started playing on PokerStars under the user name "broksi." He continued to do so after parting ways with Full Tilt Poker. He lost another $1,392,489 over the course of two multi-month stints.
Hansen Announced Retirement from High Stakes
In January of 2015, Gus Hansen visited the Copenhagen Bridge Invitational and the Danish website, Pokernyhederne.com, sat down with him for an interview. Hansen, open as ever, spoke about his online poker play and announced his "retirement" from the high stakes action. Hansen discussed the 2-7 game and the fact that he might be the reason people were playing it (as he was the biggest donor). He continued to be open about his lack of table selection and concluded that he wasn't good enough to play the biggest players. He talked about moving down, possibly playing $2/$4 and $5/$10 and avoiding $25/$50 and up.
Is Hansen Back?
The poker world was in mourning, or at least the railbirds and some of his regular opponents were. Hansen hadn't been seen since, but this week, a short revival was witnessed by tracking site HighStakesDB.com.
On August 22nd, the "broksi" resurfaced, playing $150/$300 2-7 Triple Draw. He banked $5,660 playing against the likes of "RaúlGonzalez," "M.O.P.," Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky, Zhou Chun "samrostan" Lei and Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov. The session was continued on August 23 when Hansen lost his profits from the first half and was down another $7,498 before he called it quits.
Is Gus Hansen back playing online poker? Or was the revival short-lived and just an impulse of a poker-loving recreational player? It could very well be the latter, but we await the day he returns for good and we can once again enjoy the madness and excitement that was Hansen playing online poker.
While Hansen's revival online was just over a two-day period, he did pop up playing live at the Bellagio last month. Daniel Negreanu described in his blog a live $2,000/$4,000 game where he played with Hansen and even tweeted a photo of Hansen sitting down again in the game (including cool '80s porn star 'tache).
Where Did Hansen Get $20 Million to Lose?
Despite losing a large sum of money playing online poker, Hansen is apparently still doing well for himself. Time to take a quick look at how Hansen made all his money.
- Full Tilt Poker
Hansen was one of the early investors in Full Tilt Poker and got a percentage of the company in return. After the fall of the company, it became clear there had been a lot of distributions of profits. When the distributions to, among others, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and Erick Lindgren came to light, it wasn't made public how big a piece all the owners had in the company. It's fair to say, though, that Hansen took large profits from the company doing so well before Black Friday.
Hansen was one of the biggest stars in the early days of the poker boom and was widely regarded as one of the best players live. He collected three World Poker Tour titles and $10,258,052 in live tournament earnings, according to his Hendonmob profile, with a qualifier he won to get in the inaugural $1,000,000 buy-in, Big One for One Drop, even missing from his list of results. Buy-ins obviously haven't been detracted from this end result.
The biggest result of his career came from his runner-up position to David Chiu for $1,714,800 in the 2008 $25,500 WPT Season 6 Championship Event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. His second biggest win came in Melbourne winning the Aussie Millions in 2007 for AUD$1,500,000 ($1,192,919).
Even before Hansen ventured into the world of poker, he was already amid gamblers. Hansen is an avid backgammon player. For years he was the lead commentator for backgammon tournament coverage at Eurosport.
While backgammon isn't as popular as poker, in his hometown of Monaco, there's been plenty of action among the elite, if the rumors are true. Even at the World Series of Poker, there's backgammon action every year, and in the beginning years, Hansen was seen playing the game in the hallways after poker play ended.
A couple of years ago, Hansen was even blinded off in a tournament in Monaco, reportedly, as he was too busy playing backgammon against rich businessmen. He did the same for an Open-Face Chinese Poker match one day, blinding out of a Super High Roller.
Hansen was one of the owners/early investors in the poker site 'PokerChamps.com,' together with Antanas "Tony G" Guoga and Erik "erik123"/"DIN_DRU" Sagström. They sold the site to Betfair, who at first used it as their own platform for poker within their online game offerings, only to switch to Ongame sometime later. The sale of PokerChamps to Betfair was reportedly for 100 DKK (about $15 million), though it's unknown how much Ambassador Hansen received for his part of the company.
Besides his involvement with Full Tilt Poker and PokerChamps, Gus Hansen also had a share in the site, ThePlayr.com; he ran GusHansenTV.com; he had several poker instructional DVDs and he wrote a poker book called Every Hand Revealed about his win in the Aussie Millions.
On top of that, Hansen has spent an innumerable amount of hours playing live cash games, of which the results will never be known to anyone except Gus himself. He was a participant in season two and six of the televised cash game High Stakes Poker on GSN and one of the players in one of the most famous hands of the show. A group of forum members on the twoplustwo online poker forum went through all the hands shown and came to a result of -$80,100 for Gus Hansen over the two seasons he played. That number isn't any indication of how Hansen did on the show; only a selection of the most interesting clashes made it onto the show.
Last Week's Biggest Pots Online
The biggest battle this week took place at the $400/$800 mixed games tables. The biggest pots HighStakesDB has a replayer for, are from the $100/$200 PLO tables where Dani "supernova9" Stern and "BERRI SWEET" crossed swords. While Stern ended up losing in the match, he did scoop the biggest pot of the week.
1) Dani "supernova9" Stern Wins a $78,967 Pot (395 big blinds) versus "BERRI SWEET"
($100/$200 PLO Heads Up)
Stern opened his button for $680 and "BERRI SWEET" three-bet to $2,120. Stern wasn't having any of that and bumped it to $6,440. "BERRI SWEET" called to create a pot of $13,040.
The flop came and "BERRI SWEET" checked. Stern bet just about pot ($12,957) and saw "BERRI SWEET" check-raise all in. Stern called for $32,963 and the digital cards went on their backs.
|Dani "supernova9" Stern||26.34%|
Stern had the best current pair, but "BERRI SWEET" had the lead holding a pair, flush draw, open-ended and backdoor flush draw.
The two ran the turn and river twice and both times "BERRI SWEET"'s hand did not improve. The first time it came , making Stern a straight. The second run it came , making Stern's pair of aces best.
2) "BERRI SWEET" Wins a $78,967 Pot (395 big blinds) versus Dani "supernova9" Stern
($100/$200 PLO Heads Up)
The week's second biggest hand again played between Dani "supernova9" Stern and "BERRI SWEET" and saw a similar pattern in betting.
Stern again opened his button for $680, and once more "BERRI SWEET" three-bet to $2,120. Again Stern bumped it to $6,440 and "BERRI SWEET" called to grow the pot to $13,040.
The flop came and "BERRI SWEET" checked. Stern bet $12,957 and "BERRI SWEET" check-raised all in for $39,986. Stern called all in for $31,411 and it was time for another showdown.
|Dani "supernova9" Stern||42.07%|
"BERRI SWEET" again had the advantage, though it wasn't as big as in the first hand. This time, his hand did ended up a winner. The first time it came , , the second time , .
3) Alexander "joiso" Kostritsyn Wins a $68,540 Pot (342 big blinds) versus Viktor "Isildur1" Blom
($100/$200 PLO Heads Up)
Kostritsyn opened with a button raise to $600 and Blom answered with a three-bet to $1,800. Kostritsyn four-bet to $5,400 and Blom called.
With already $10,800 in the pot, the flop came . Blom check-called a bet of $6,478, growing the pot to $23,756 going to the turn.
The fourth community card came the and Blom checked again. Kostritsyn bet pot and Blom called all in for $22,392.
|Alexander "joiso" Kostritsyn||85%|
|Viktor "Isildur1" Blom||15%|
Blom was in bad shape with his flush draw and pair as Kostritsyn turned over the bigger flush draw and over pair. The pair decided to run the river twice and both times Kostritsyn ended up a winner. The first time the completed the board. It gave Blom trips but Kostritsyn the winning flush. The second river, the again improved Blom's hand but it filled up Kostritsyn's wheel draw and the Russian scooped the pot.
Online High Stakes Action Last Week
Alexander "joiso" Kostritsyn is this week's biggest winner, making most of his profits playing $400/$800 mixed games against players like Zhou Chun "samrostan" Lei, Dan "w00ki3z." Cates, Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky, and Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov.
|(user)name||hands||profit/loss last week||profit/loss 2016||profit/loss all time|
|1||Alexander "joiso" Kostritsyn||7,821||+$225,647|
|2||Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton||2,169||+$216,902||+$634,619||+$845,170|
|4||Elior "Crazy Elior" Sion||3,266||+$97,250||-||-|
|5||Zhou Chun "samrostan" Lei||5,338||+$86,735||-||-|
|7||Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky||4,125||+$44,320||+$1,005,964||+$5,043,167|
|1||Daniel "d2themfi" Isaacson||571||-$197,806||-||-|
|2||Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov||2,739||-$142,896||-||-|
|4||Dan "w00ki3z." Cates||4,141||-$122,375||-$167,493||+$1,096,661|
|5||Dani "supernova9" Stern||594||-$105,548||+$215,382||-$219,079|
The 2016 Leaderboard
Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky widened the gap, with now more than a million in profit for the year. Andres "Educa-p0ker" Artinano played a bit, lost some, but still sits in second place on the yearly leaderboard. Dani "supernova9" Stern lost big in the last weeks and has dropped from the top three of biggest winners and now sits in eighth place. His spot in the top three is overtaken by Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton who's up over $600,000 for the year after a good two weeks at the online felt.
Viktor Blom lost a little and remains this year's biggest losing player. Alex "Kanu7" Millar was not seen at the highest stakes and remains in second place. "candela2005"'s third place is overtaken by "bodamos" who now completes the top three.
|(user)name||hands 2016||profit/loss 2016||profit/loss per hand 2016||profit/loss all time||↑/↓ this week||most played game 2016|
|1||Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky||63,406||+$1,005,964||+$15.95||+$5,043,167||↑||8-game|
|2||Andres "Educa-p0ker" Artinano||27,877||+$714,228||+$25.62||+$1,135,216||↓||NLHM|
|3||Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton||14,313||+$634,618||+$44.33||+$845,170||↑||PLO|
|1||Viktor "Isildur1" Blom||130,382||-$689,603||-$5.28||+$1,311,357||↓||8-game|
|2||Alex "Kanu7" Millar||24,885||-$607,654||-$24.41||+$2,652,937||-||NLHM|
The above top three of biggest winners and losers in online poker for 2016 and the top 10 biggest winners and losers online for the last week only consist of PokerStars accounts that haven't opted out with HighStakesDB.com.