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Gus Hansen talks WSOP Main Event 2009
The Main Event is only the fourth event that Hansen's played at this year's WSOP, but he's one of the most popular players amongst spectators in the Amazon Room.
Hansen is regarded as one of the best players to never win a bracelet, and the Main Event is the last chance he has in 2009.
He chatted with PL.com while folding a few hands in front of a rail packed with spectators sweating his action.
"My strategy is to win, but I can't win it on the first day, so I'm going to take it easy," said Hansen.
"It's such a big field. We start with fairly healthy stacks, everybody has 30,000. We're still playing low blinds and we've just right now got the antes on. It's time to take it easy."
Hansen survived Day 1 with a 40k chip stack, and was one of the lucky ones out of the opening-day field of 1,116 players.
"I've actually played at three different tables so I haven't really had time to figure out who's who," Hansen said.
"I'm just taking it quiet and easy until I have a good hand, and maybe throw in a small bluff, nothing too wild or crazy."
Hansen doesn't have a long history of success in the Main Event, but he did cash for $41,816 by finishing 160th last year, and he also finished 10th in the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event.
The fan-friendly cash-game legend spent much of Day 1A chatting up and taking pictures with fans around the rail, not turning away anyone who asked for an autograph or photo.
The spectators increased in number as the day went on, and even some of his opponents at the table couldn't resist engaging in conversation with one of poker's rock-star personalities.
Dealing with the different reactions he gets from opponents is a dimension of the game that players who aren't as famous as Hansen don't have to deal with.
"I think all the reactions are very different," Hansen said.
"Some people want to bluff me, some people are a little scared of me, and some people just try to play their own game. It depends on the person, and it's up to me to figure out who's who."
"I think that's what's one of the beauties of poker. It really depends who you're up against. Are you up against the old lady from Arizona, or the young reckless guy from Europe. Who is it? It's up to the player to determine, so it really depends on who's sitting at the table."
Despite playing only a few events, Hansen has displayed a conservative playing style that's unusual to see from the normally aggressive cash gamer.
His high finish in $50k H.O.R.S.E. reminded everyone that he's one of the best and most well-rounded players in the world.
"Overall I was very happy with my H.O.R.S.E. performance, unfortunately it would have been a lot more fun to make it a step further to the final table, but maybe I'll take the Main Event instead," Hansen said.