Did Gus Hansen Just Become the Biggest Loser in Online Poker History?

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Gus Hansen (pictured) is on the verge of losing $17 million on Full Tilt Poker, according to HighStakesDB, making him the biggest loser in recorded online poker history. He has now more than doubled the losses of “noataima,” the previous holder of that distinction.

Hansen’s slide on Full Tilt began in 2009, when he dropped from his peak of $2.27 million in profit to a crushing loss of $10.47 million. Yet in the months before Black Friday, the Dane had already begun to recoup much of that damage, going on an epic $7 million upswing from October 2010 until Full Tilt’s shutdown.

The closure of the site put the brakes on Hansen’s run and when Full Tilt reopened, the 40-year-old’s fortunes suffered a dramatic reversal. Since regaining access to his account, Hansen has become the whipping boy of the nosebleed tables. Winning sessions are few and far between and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a match has become the norm.

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Since his peak before Black Friday, Hansen has lost $13.51 million for a grand total of $16.72 million in lifetime losses over 1.4 million hands, according to HighStakesDB. This, of course, doesn’t include his play at other sites or hands that might not have been tracked by HighStakesDB. But even so, the downswing is staggering and the poker community has begun to wonder if Hansen’s bankroll can survive.

There is a sentiment among many in the poker community that the Full Tilt pro is still a great player, but isn’t practicing good game selection. “He really isn’t that bad. It’s just a testament to how good the regs he plays are more than anything,” said TwoPlusTwo poster “JohnnyPanic.” “I also think he has run pretty badly lately – he’s probably a favorite to lose, but not by much.”

Daniel “Jungleman” Cates (pictured) reiterated that thought, telling CardPlayer, “I think he’s a dog in almost every game he is playing in. Not every one, but pretty close. That’s not to say that I think he is a bad player, buthe is not picking his spots very well.”

Hansen hasn’t publicly shown much anger over the losses and has been candid in interviews about the downswing. “I sleep better after a big win than after a big loss, I think that’s no secret,” he told PokerListings. “But yes, I’ve been doing a lot of losing lately and I’ve been frustrated.”

After taking such a big hit, he’s started to rethink his whole game. “I am kind of questioning myself. I think every competitive player has to question himself at some point and ask, ‘Has the game surpassed me? Am I rusty? Am I not good enough in this game anymore?'”

The massive loss also begs the question of how long Hansen’s bankroll can survive after taking such a sustained beating. Forum posters have speculated that as a part-owner of the original Full Tilt Poker, the Dane banked quite a bit of cash. “Think about the old Full Tilt owners. They all received tens of millions from Full Tilt as a salary and Gus was very close to the top,” said poster “atisz.”

Full Tilt speculation aside, we know that Hansen has had a long and successful career in gambling. He is said to have won millions as one of the world’s most fearsome backgammon players and boasts over $11 million in recorded live tournament cashes. He was also a founding partner in PokerChamps, a poker site he sold to Betfair for $15 million in 2005.

Hansen was one of poker’s earliest superstars, capturing the world’s attention with his hyper-aggressive play. He currently resides in Monaco and continues to battle with poker’s best and brightest at the highest stakes tables on Full Tilt Poker.

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