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Thor Hansen, the 'Godfather of Norwegian Poker', passed away Tuesday night after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 71 years old. In 2012, Hansen was told by doctors that his colorectal cancer had spread to his lungs and he was given just months to live. Despite the diagnosis, Hansen sought medical treatment and continued to play poker. His final cash came in March when he finished 98th in the €800 Norwegian Open in Dublin, Ireland. He won two World Series of Poker bracelets over the course of his career. The first came in 1988 when he beat out 78 other players to win a $5,000 Seven Card Stud event. He picked up his second in 2002 when he won the $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven event. His career live earnings were $2,949,644. He was also a successful and respected online player. In 2012 he won a PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker title, taking down the $320 Seven Card Stud event. Six months later he added a Spring Championship of Online Poker title to his resume, winning the $2,100 Seven Card Stud event. His success on the virtual felt caught the attention of the PocketFives community in 2010. Hansen was named a Poker Hall of Fame finalist in 2012, 2013 and 2017. Born in Oslo, Norway in June 1947, Hansen was also a talented billiards and chess player. During his poker career he was a regular in some of the games run by Larry Flynt in California where he lived. He is survived by his wife, Marcella Braswell.
As news of the passing of Thor Hansen spread throughout the poker community on Wednesday, an outpouring of love and respect for “the Godfather of Norwegian Poker” flooded social media. Hansen was a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, a three-time Poker Hall of Fame nominee as well as both a PokerStars WCOOP and SCOOP champion. In 2012, after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, doctors had given him just months to live. Hansen sought treatment, beat the odds and throughout the next six years continued to be a fixture in the world of poker. Hansen, finally succumbing to the disease, passed away at the age of 71. The poker community took time to remember him. Hansen is survived by his wife, Marcella Bramwell.
One might think that with the holidays on the horizon December would be a quiet month of people spending time with their family. Not for the world of poker. December 2018 was full of record-breaking tournaments and huge headlines. Here are some of the names that made the news in December. Dan Smith Makes A Difference For the past five years, regular high-roller Dan Smith has been collecting donations for various charities at Christmas time. This year, Smith and his collaborators amassed $1.29M for the Double Up Drive and that they would use to match donations to spread to 10 carefully cultivated charities. They nearly got that amount in a single day when DFS champion Tom Crowley promised to give 50% of any winnings he might make from the DraftKings World Championship Final. Crowley, known as ‘ChipotleAddict’, went on to win the event for $2 million and over the weekend hauled in a total of $2.254 - half of which was donated to the Double Up Drive. The donation was ‘surreal’ but Smith wants to make sure people knew that donations of any size are welcome. “I want to clarify that any amount makes a difference,” Smith told PocketFives. “People in Uganda are living off 65 cents a day, an amount we don’t even consider at all.” READ: Dan Smith Charity Drive Gets “Surreal” $1.1M Donation via DFS Champ Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl V The fifth edition of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl saw Isaac Haxton best the field of 36 elite players to earn a career-high cash of $3.672 million dollars. “This is easily the best tournament result I’ve ever had and it’s an event I love. It feels great to win here at ARIA. This is the highlight of my tournament career, no doubt,” said Haxton after the win. The final table was replete with talent including Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic, Igor Kurganov, Adrian Mateos, Talal Shakerchi, Stephen Chidwick, and eventual runner-up Alex Foxen. Foxen took home a career-best $2.1 million for his second-place finish. This capped off an amazing year that saw him earn 12 cashes of six-figures or better as well as rise to become the #1-ranked player on the GPI. READ: Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl for $3.672 Million READ: Alex Foxen’s Drive Takes Him to the Super High Roller Bowl The World Series of Poker Releases 2019 Dates Just before Christmas the World Series of Poker delivered players an early present by announcing a partial schedule of the 2019 WSOP. This summer will be the 50th anniversary for the longest-running tournament series and to help commemorate the occasion the WSOP is planning a number of special events for the players. The schedule included the announcement of the ‘Big 50’, a $500 buy-in tournament with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and a $1 million guarantee for first place. Additionally, in an extra effort to “make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around” many of the marquee events of the summer have an increased starting stack. This includes the WSOP Main Event which is increasing their starting stack to 60,000. READ: WSOP Releases 2019 Dates, New ‘Big 50’ Event - $500 Buy-in, $5M GTD Dylan Linde Wins WPT Five Diamond for $1.6 Million The crypto crash of 2018 has some in the industry fearing that the numbers for the World Poker Tour’s highlight event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, might see a dip in registration. However, just the opposite happened as players flocked to the Bellagio in record-setting numbers. The event attracted 1001 runners and generated a prize pool of $9.7 million. In the end, longtime poker pro Dylan ‘ImaLucSac’ Linde (who re-entered five times in the event) dominated a stacked final table that included Andrew Lichtenberger, Ping Liu, Lisa Hamilton, Barry Hutter and runner-up Milos Skrbic. Linde won a career-high $1.6 million and earned the title of WPT Champion. READ: Dylan Line Wins Record-Shattering WPT Five Diamond Title for $1.6 Million Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio, Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online. partypoker’s 2018 $20M GTD MILLIONS Online did not disappoint. The incredible online tournament surpassed its posted guarantee and set the record for the largest single online tournament in history with players vying for a first place prize of over $2.6M. In the end, after one hand of heads-up play, Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and PocketFiver Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede settled on a lightning-fast chop that awarded both players over $2.3M. Rubio, technically, earned the victory, taking home $20K more than De Goede and now owns the record for the single largest online payday in history. READ: Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop partypoker MILLIONS Online A December To Remember December was just one of those month’s where huge news seemed to break every day. Here are some of the other must-read major headlines in December. Michigan opens its doors to online poker. READ: Michigan Becomes Fifth State to Regulate Online Poker The poker world loses a legend in the passing of Thor Hansen. READ: Thor Hansen Passes Away at 71 The pitch black bathroom bet comes to an abrupt end. READ: The $100K Bathroom Prop Ends Early; Alati, Young Agree on $62K Buyout Bay 101’s Shooting Star returns without the WPT behind it. READ: After a Year Away, Bay 101 Shooting Star Returns With New Look
The World Poker Tour has a new WPT Champions Club member. On Monday night, Canadien Demo Kiriopoulos captured first place in the Season XVII WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event. Kiriopoulos topped a record-breaking field of 602 entries to win the C$517,424 ($382,894) top prize. WPT Fallsview Final Table Results 1st: Demo Kiriopoulos - C$517,424* 2nd: Wing Yeung - C$362,853 3rd: Andrew Pantling - C$233,339 4th: Jake Schwartz - C$167,388 5th: James Morgan - C$128,471 6th: Noeung Troeung - C$105,170 *First place includes a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions. Nineteen players remained to enter the third and final day of play, with Kiriopoulos sitting 14th on the leaderboard. Chanracy Khun was the only remaining WPT Champions Club member in the field and Garrett Dansereau was in the lead. Khun busted in 11th place, just after the last woman standing, Christine Do, went out in 12th. Kiriopoulos then knocked out Yuri Siniak in 10th place, as Andrew Pantling continued to lead the way. Pantling padded his lead with the knockout of Jason Sagle in ninth place, and then Brad Lampman was eliminated in eighth place by Jake Schwartz. Dansereau, the start-of-day chip leader, bowed out in seventh when his [poker card="Ad"][poker card="Ts"] couldn't win against Schwartz's [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Kc"], according to the WPT coverage. With six players left, it was still Pantling out in front in a big way. He had 9.475 million and Schwartz was the next largest stack at 4.07 million. At the time, Kiriopoulos was fourth in chips with 2.855 million. Kiriopoulos began chipping up right away and soon found himself second in chips behind only Pantling, who had also chipped up to more than 10 million in chips. On the 28th hand of six-handed play, Noeung Troeung was eliminated in sixth place by James Morgan. A handful of hands later, Kiriopoulos clashed big against Pantling to take over the chip lead. During five-handed play, Kiriopoulos and Pantling exchanged the chip lead a few times. Pantling then took a big chunk out of Morgan before Morgan busted in fifth place to Wing Yeung. Schwartz then went out in fourth place when he couldn't win with the [poker card="Qh"][poker card="Jh"] against the [poker card="As"][poker card="8d"] of Kiriopoulos. Three-handed play started with Pantling and Kiriopoulos almost tied for the chip lead, and Yeung in third place. Yeung found a double through Kiriopoulos, then Kiriopoulos found a double through Pantling. After the dinner break, Kiriopoulos came back and went to work. He quickly moved into the lead before he won a big pot off Yeung who had just doubled through Pantling. That allowed Kiriopoulos to really separate himself from the pack. Pantling went out to Yeung in third place when his pocket kings couldn't hold up against the pocket twos of Yeung. Kiriopoulos had the lead entering heads-up play by about 2-1. The two battled for quite some time, but in the end, Kiriopoulos was too much for Yeung to handle. Kiriopoulos won the big pots and the majority of the small pots to finish Yeung off and win his first WPT title. On the final hand, Kiriopoulos called Yeung's shove with pocket tens. Yeung had the [poker card="Jd"][poker card="6d"] and failed to improve. He earned C$362,853 ($268,511) for his runner-up finish. Hublot WPT Player of the Year Update With the win, Kiriopoulos soared past $1 million in career live tournament earnings. He also picked up a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and 1,200 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. Ping Liu added to his Hublot WPT Player of the Year lead with a 62nd-place finish at WPT Fallsview. Liu now has 1,900 points and is 50 points ahead of Tony Ruberto in second place. Liu has six cashes and two WPT final tables on the season. Schwartz, who took fourth at WPT Fallsview, added 800 points to move to 1,650 points overall. He's currently in third place. The winner of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XVII will earn a $15,000 WPT Passport that can be used as buy-in credit across global WPT events. The winner also receives a custom Hublot watch. Second place in the race will earn a $7,500 WPT Passport, and third place gets a $2,500 WPT Passport.