Gus Hansen(pictured) is in the midst of the worst online poker downswing on the books. At $17.66 million in the hole, the Danish pro has more than doubled the losses of noataima, the second biggest money loser in recorded online history, according to HighStakesDB.
Even so, Hansen continues to do battle with the best players in the world at the highest stakes online, day in and day out. He was gracious enough to sit down for an interview with PokerStrategy’s Tobias Frey at the European Poker Tour in Vienna, where he spoke about his high-stakes opponents, his losses, Macau, the WSOP, and more.
Hansen was quite candid about his recent battles with German 2-7 Triple Draw specialist Sebastian “taktloss47” Ruthenberg. “He’s been beating the shit out of me,” Hansen said. “Obviously, he’s been playing good and maybe he’s been getting the best of the cards lately. But it seems like he’s been outplaying me… Unfortunately, I have to admit that. I have to play better.”
Yet while enduring soul crushing losses, the 40-year-old gave praise to many of the German high-stakes players’ commitment to improving their game while questioning his own. “The German players are very professional… I could learn from that,” he said. “I’m sometimes a little too relaxed, don’t focus enough, maybe play too long hours, and don’t spend enough time analyzing my game.”
He also admitted that he often jumps into long, grueling sessions without being properly prepared. “That’s usually when it all goes down the drain,” he said.
With that said, does Hansen believe he still has an edge on today’s young internet prodigies? “Well, that’s hard to say with the results I’ve been having,” he said. “I’m trying to improve my game, but it seems like it’s not enough. I have to consider what my next move is.”
On the forums, posters had their own opinions about Hansen’s situation. “Will this guy ever run out of money?” said “Pls try to bluf.” “Could only imagine where it comes from.” Poster “Crane” also chimed in, dubious of Hansen’s skill level: “Why do people think Gus Hansen is a good player? Have you ever watched him play?”
While it might surprise the railbirds, Hansen emphatically stated that he cares about the money he loses online. But, when questioned about why he still plays high-stakes, he said he couldn’t really come up with a good answer. Fortunately, though, it seems he still has the bankroll to continue playing at those levels comfortably. “I can afford to lose, but it’s more fun to win. You sleep a little bit better when you win,” he said.
Would he ever quit playing high-stakes? “It’s not impossible, I can’t keep losing… At some point, I have to quit.”
Hansen doesn’t spend all his time online. He’s also a semi-regular in Macau’s ultra high-stakes cash games, where he has apparently been doing very well. He also refutes the assumption that the wealthy businessmen who frequent those games make it one of the easiest in the world. “That’s not the case at all. There are some really tough players around. People can put a lot of pressure on you; it’s not that easy,” he admitted.
He won’t be spending any time in China during the WSOP, though. The Danish pro said that he would be at the WSOP the entire time this year, but wasn’t sure how many tournaments he would enter or if he took his chances in the One Drop. Of course, a win in the $1 million buy-in tournament would do much to offset recent losses. “[A bracelet]is not a high priority for me. I’d rather win the One Drop than win a bracelet,” he said.
Unfortunately, Hansen’s losses don’t seem to be abating. Since the interview was published on April 5, he has gone on to lose another $1 million after playing only 3,366 hands, according to a LiquidPoker high-stakes poker report.