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Gus in the Groove: The Dane Has His Day
Hansen started off the year by taking home first place and $1,500,000 in the Aussie Millions $10,500 main event. He's one of three players in the World Poker Tour Walk of Fame, he's earned millions for his tournament play; and he made People's list of the sexiest men alive.
One thing Hansen hasn't done is make a big score at the World Series of Poker. His biggest cash so far was in 2004, when he made $15,000 for 150th place. The way he's playing - and stacking up chips - there is a good chance a change is coming.
Hansen talked to PokerListings.com at the end of the night, just after tournament staff helped him stuff his mountain of chips into the sealed plastic bag where it will spend the night. Gus gave us the lowdown on his strategy, his monster table, and the Rolling Stones.
You needed help bagging all those chips - it looks like you had a good day.
I had a very good day. It started out good - I had a couple of hands, checked a couple of times; and my opponents bet for me, which is always nice. So, a good run kind of got me going early. I started with $100,000, which was decent - then got up to $200,000 quickly; which put me in a good spot.
I got moved to a new table and was pretty comfortable - but suddenly that turned into the craziest table. We got three of the chip leaders [Including Sorel Mizzi,who finished the day in 9th place; and Rain Khan, who finished in first just above Hansen.] at the same time - I think with $500,000, $500,000 and $450,000 - and another guy with $350,000.
There were double the chips compared to all the other tables. The average was $1,200,000 and we had around $2,500,000 at our table - so that was a little bit scary. Also, they were some good players - top players, aggressive players.
Sometimes you run into a big stack who's very tight; and you kind of have some room to maneuver - but here they were ramming and jamming; so it was a very, very tough table. Nobody would want to be at that table.
Luckily we got broken forty minutes before the end; and I got to a more quiet table. I was the big chip leader at that table; so I felt more comfortable, more in control. I hit a couple of hands and took down a couple of pots, so I ended up pretty good, with over $600,000 in chips.
Has this been your best day of the Series?
Definitely - I haven't played too many tournaments; and basically the other tournaments were horrible for me. It's pretty nice doing well in the Main Event. There's still a lot of players left; but it's nice being one of the chip leaders.
I can afford to wait around a little - see people get knocked out for a while - not that that's part of my plan. I'm really hoping to get a good table - that's an important part of the whole thing: table draw. The cards are of course important; but I feel comfortable. A good night's sleep and then back tomorrow.
So you'll play the same game tomorrow?
Oh yeah, definitely. You're not going to win the tournament with $622,000 in chips. I think you have to approach the $125,000,000; and hey - so far, so good. There's a long way to go, but that's really what I'm aiming for.
One step at a time, one day at a time, really - but that's what I'm aiming for; and to do that I have to get some more chips.
How do you get ready for the day?
Usually I try to stay fit, go to the gym a little bit. I had a little hamstring problem, so I've been laying low. I guess that's given me a little more time to rest, to get an extra hour of sleep; so I feel pretty well-rested.
I listen to some music if I feel like I'm getting too much poker - I turn on the iPod and relax a little, to get my focus back. I feel pretty good about the whole thing.
We assume the hamstring injury is from a dramatic poker accident.
No, no - not at all - it came from the gym. I've taken a week off. I usually don't like to do that, but it's kind of been necessary. Right now the poker is the main thing - doing well heading into Day 3.
What about the music - what does Gus Hansen listen to to relax at the table?
Well, earlier my poker music had been mostly in the rap category - some Eminem, Docter Dre, 50 Cent, Jay-Z - in that range. Then some - for you guys - totally unknown Danish rappers. One is very fittingly called the Joker.
I change around and listen to a lot of music. This year Rolling Stones has been my backing band - so far, so good - no need to change around. It's good music, so I'll keep the Rolling Stones alive, at least for a day more.
* * * * * * * * * * *Hansen may as well keep the Stones rolling into Day 3 - what do they say about rolling stones? They gather all the chips... or something...? Whatever it is, it works for Hansen; and you know PokerListings.com will keep an eye on Gus and his chip fortress tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. As they say in the state of Denmark.